Ontario Ready to Launch Online Gambling Site

Ontario Ready to Launch Online Gambling SiteIn Canada Ontario residents are spending over $400 million annually at offshore gaming sites and the provincial government wants a piece of the action. In an attempt to attract the under 45 crowd the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is launching tis new website playolg.ca this fall. Online gambling isn’t the only card in the deck as the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation seeks to modernize the province’s gambling operations. Lawmakers and regulators are hoping the money generated by the site will help the province address its massive $12 billion deficit.

The new site will allow residents to play a variety of casino games against the house and players can also compete against each other. Players may also purchase lottery tickets using their computers and smartphones. Estimates say the plan will generate about $100 million for the province annually. Not everyone is happy with the move. Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said that Ontarians already have enough gambling opportunities. Horwath stated “Now we have ‘click your mouse, lose your house’ kind of gaming and I don’t know if that’s necessary.” The “click your mouse, lose your house” has been used by anti-gambling extremists several times in the United States by far right politicians and has no basis in fact.

Some are wondering what the effects of online and mobile ticket sales will be for convenience stores and other lottery retailers. Currently convenience stores sell 70% of all lottery tickets in Ontario.  Dave Bryans, chief executive of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, told reporters “The jury is out on what the future looks like.” The Convenience Stores Association has been watching sales figures in British Columbia where so far only 2% of all lottery tickets have been sold online. Lottery ticket sales are important to convenience store owners because they bring in foot traffic and often lead to the sale of other items in the store In the convenience store sector there are three forms of foot traffic; lottery, tobacco and gasoline.  Bryans stated “I’m not saying it’s all doom and gloom — we have to reinvent ourselves and that is working with your partners like lottery.”

So far there has been no indication whether the new gaming site will offer online bingo

. Bingo is extremely popular in Canada, a former British colony. Stan Sadinsky, a retired Queens University law professor and former chair of the OLG and Ontario Racing Commission, said “There’s so many wildcards.” One wildcard is how many racetracks will close and what the new funding model for harness racing will be in Ontario. The Gaming Corporation also plans several new land based casinos.

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