An Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Corporation spokesman has commented that the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) latest amendments to its civil complaint against Full Tilt Poker, accusing the giant poker company of running a Ponzi scheme, might be used to argue the case for government-managed online gambling in Canada.
OLG spokesman Tony Bitonti further explained that online players can rest assured that they will be paid if the government runs all online gambling activities. The OLG plans to start online gaming in 2012.
The DoJ has accused Full Tilt Poker of cheating poker players from all over the world of nearly $440 million, and Canadian players are believed to have been robbed of at least $15 million. Preet Bharara, the US attorney, has accused Full Tilt Poker pros such as Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer of stuffing their pockets with cash stolen from loyal Full Tilt Poker customers.
According to a law firm based in Montreal, around 1000 ex Full Tilt Poker players from Canada have hired the firm to file a joint lawsuit against Full Tilt Poker, its partners and parents, and its top players. However, the Quebec Superior Court needs to approve this motion before it can be allowed to proceed.
According to this motion, online gambling in Canada is legal only if it is run through an agency designated by a province, such as the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, the Loto Quebec, or the Atlantic Lottery. It also notes that offshore online gambling companies cannot advertise and operate in Canada.
Speaking about the problems created by online gambling companies in Canada, Alain Cousineau, the president of Loto Quebec said that offshore gaming sites never offer assistance for problem gamblers, but leave it to the state to bear the costs of rehabilitating them.
According to Bitonti, around 400 – 500 people in Ontario have signed up at online gambling sites that are not permitted to operate in Ontario and are not monitored by any government body. Around $400 million is being spent annually on online gambling by the people of Ontario and all these funds are flowing out of the state.
Speaking in favor of government-run online gaming in Canada, Duhaime said that it is safe as well as successful, especially because the money does not flow out, but stays within Canada without risks of laundering. The profits raked in can be used for the benefit of problem gamblers.