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Canada's Local Online Casinos are Approaching Things
from the Wrong Direction

Australia has this year updated its online gambling regulation. The fresh legislation meant bad news for the country's sizable online casino player community: it was a blanket ban on all forms of online casino games and online poker services offered to Canadian citizens. While no local operator was allowed to offer online gambling services to Australian citizens, the access of the citizens to offshore gambling venues like the Vegas Palms was tacitly accepted. But with the new laws, legitimate casino and poker room operators will no longer accept any players from Australia. And this is unfortunate, according to some, because without the legitimate gambling groups, Aussie players will flock to shadier operators not exactly well-known about their favorable customer protection and security policies.

Canada is preparing to push through a similar piece of legislation - it already has, in fact, but it's under review. But it has gone even further, requiring local ISPs to block the locals' access to offshore casino websites. This will apply to the Quebec region at first but it might be expanded to cover all other provinces later, which might be bad news for the local gaming community. This would mean that locals would no longer have access to Vegas Palms, a trusted Canadian real money gambling site, and no other legitimate operator. Depending on the speed at which the lists provided by the legislators to ISPs are updated, their access to other operators will surely also disappear completely.

Similar measures have been taken in other countries, too, but in another context. Romania's online gambling regulator has ordered local ISPs to block access to any unlicensed online gambling operator. But the situation is very different as in any operator that fulfills the requirements of the operator - that involve retroactively paying taxes on the company's revenues generated by Romanian players - can obtain an operating license on the Romanian market. Canada's legislators want a blanket ban, in turn, on all offshore operators, while promoting their own product to players.

In different industries, such a measure would be deemed protectionist and illegal, and would have attracted the attention of the World Trade Organization. But with no possibility to obtain a license from the Canadian authorities, operators were offering their services on the brink of illegality, which renders them completely powerless.

Both Canada and Australia are attractive markets for online gambling operators - and they both have restrictive policies that prevent the access of major gambling groups to their markets. And this is not exactly a measure saluted by those left without the possibility to play their favorite games in the way they want to. Hopefully, things will change in the future. It remains to be seen.
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