One might wonder why Canada, like the US, is not cracking down on offshore online gambling operators. Although the gambling law of Canada allows only its provincial government to operate Internet gaming sites, around 2000 offshore gaming sites offer online gaming services to Canadians. Experts say that the Canadian gambling laws are unclear and that even gambling advocates have differences of opinion regarding whether these offshore gaming companies are breaking the law or not.
Last week, the US federal government cracked down on Calvin Ayre, the gambling king of Canada, who founded Bodog.com, and three people associated with him and indicted them on charges of illegal gambling and money laundering. The US government also confiscated Bodog.com. Last year, the US federal government cracked down on PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker.
On the other hand, gamblers in Canada are pouring close to $4 billion every year into offshore online gambling sites although the Canadian law clearly states that only provincial governments can legally run online gaming sites in Canada. In spite of this, the government of Canada has shown no signs of taking action against either the offshore gambling sites or their Canadian customers.
Explaining the tendency, Canadian Gaming Association Vice President Paul Burns says, “There hasn’t been a huge public outcry. There’s a high level of acceptance of offshore operators in Canada.”
While some are of the opinion that Canadian gambling laws are not clear, others says that, since the businesses are conducted in Canada, they do not go against Canadian laws. Some gambling advocates feel that the gambling business goes against Canadian laws if the servers are located far away from Canada. Prof. Sadinsky feels that even if everybody agrees that the offshore operators are breaking Canadian gambling laws, taking action against them would be difficult since the Canadian law enforcement agencies cannot crack down upon these operators when they are physically absent from Canada.
Further explaining the situation, Burns says that either the law ought to be enforced or a regulatory framework ought to be created, but Canada has so far done none of the above. Regulation and legalization is the only answer to Canada’s gambling woes, says Burns, adding that this will give gambling customers a fair and secure environment in which they can gamble.