Gaming Strategy
Featured Stories
Legal News Financial News Casino Opening and Remodeling News Gaming Industry Executives Author Home Author Archives Search Articles Subscribe
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Emily D. Swoboda

Ontario Ad Bill Sits Before Standing Committee

27 June 2006

A bill that was introduced to the provincial parliament of Ontario, Canada in March of 2006 in order to prohibit advertising in the province by unregulated Internet gaming sites is currently before the Legislative Assembly's Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

Jeff Leal, MPP for Peterborough, drafted Bill 60 (a.k.a. An Act to Amend the Consumer Protection Act 2002), which aims to regulate the promotion and advertising of Internet gaming in Ontario, in March.

"The growth of illegal Internet gaming websites, onshore and offshore, is a serious threat to the future viability and integrity of both the horse racing industry and government betting operations," Leal said in a press release. "Responsible local businesses like Kawartha Downs and Kawartha Slots who provide many jobs to the people of Peterborough, should be able to operate unhindered by illegal competition within Canada."

The Consumer Protection Act 2002 was written to address all consumer transactions and applies only to consumers who are in Ontario at the time of the transaction, but its original incarnation included no mention of Internet gambling.

Leal amends the Consumer Protection Act 2002 first by adding to section 1 the definitions for "Internet gaming business" and "Internet gaming business website address." The relevant sections would read:

"'Internet gaming business means' a business that offers to accept wagers or bets over the Internet on any game of chance or mixed skill and chance or on any contingency or event that is to take place inside or outside of Canada and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a business that offers to accept wagers or bets over the Internet relating to a casino game, card game, horse race, fight, match or sport." .

"'Internet gaming business website address' means a Uniform Resource Locator ("URL") or other standardized address name layout that allows an Internet user to locate an Internet gaming business on the World Wide Web, and includes any company or trade name that would constitute a valid URL of an Internet gaming business with the addition of one or more standard URL components, such as a server prefix, a domain suffix or extension or a country code." .

The bill also amends section 17 of the Act, which addresses unfair practices by adding Section 17.1, which prohibits a person from printing, publishing, distributing, broadcasting or telecasting an advertisement that includes an Internet gambling website address unless the person believes the gambling business has been licensed or permitted to operate in Ontario or Canada at large by the proper authority.

Bill 60's main intention is to stop the advertising of illegal Internet gaming websites that advertise "free gaming" but then direct online users to pay-to-play sites, which are not licensed in Ontario or Canada. Doing so would protect businesses regulated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC), the country's government controlled gambling and entertainment company which owns the Ontario Lottery, five charity casinos, four commercial casinos and 17 slot machine facilities at racetracks across Ontario.

Leal said he wants to protect his constituents, many of whom are employed by Kawartha Downs, a slots-at-racetrack facility owned by OLGC, and he fears that with increased unregulated competition, the gaming industry and the province will suffer.

Toronto-based Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), owner of Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto and Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, said that it is losing as much as $100 million in wagers to online gaming sites, and that 100 sites take online bets on WEG events.

WEG is said to be making a presentation before the Standing Committee in support of Bill 60, but nothing has been scheduled yet.

Anne Stokes, clerk of the committee, said the the Committee has not made any plans as yet to consider Bill 60.

"The Committee will be dealing with two government bills during the summer recess and it is unlikely that any consideration of Bill 60 or the other Private Members's Bills referred to the Committee will be schduled before the fall," she said.

Ontario Ad Bill Sits Before Standing Committee is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda