Article published on 25 February 2010

Ontario May Introduce Online Gambling Next

Online gambling in Ontario is unavoidable
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The Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, said that the introduction of regulated online gambling in the province is unavoidable.

The comments came soon after Quebec announced that it would be launching online poker and gambling sites by the fall through Loto Quebec lottery corporation.

Dalton said that internet gambling is a reality that the government cannot afford to ignore for much longer.

"The issue is whether or not we should be involved in that, and I think we're going to have to make a call," said McGuinty. "It's something we can't avoid."

McGuinty said that there was no point in comparing the blocking of online gambling to the restriction of items such alcoholic beverages.

"We can control whether or not there's corner store sales for beer and wine, but internet gambling is taking place," he said. "The issue is what do we want to do in the face of that."

The same sentiments were echoes by Paul Godfrey, the chairman of Ontario Lottery and Gaming who said last week that he would like to see the lottery corporation get actively involved in online wagering options.

Godfrey said that the other choice was to sit back and watch other provinces benefit from the potential revenue that could reach millions of dollars.

According to a researcher at McGill University, Jeff Derevensky, there are over 2000 online gambling sites where Canadians are able to play.

He said that local governments are well aware that they are losing out by not directing at least some of the money spent to their own regulated sites.

"They've done the studies," said Deverensky. "If they can recoup a slice of it, then that money could be better used in government run programs."

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