Two large banners of Bet99 were spotted at last weekend’s YQM Country Festival in Dieppe, New Brunswick. However, this was not left unnoticed by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. It should be noted that the Ontario-based operator is not licensed by ALC to operate in the Atlantic region. Its marketing in the area led to some concerns in the Crown corporation.
ALC is the only legal and government-regulated gaming and sports betting operator in Atlantic Canada. But the Crown is concerned that profits produced by offshore operators don’t stay in the region to be used for healthcare, education, and road work. Estimations show that the four provinces put around CA$170 million in illegal websites.
Operators are Not Licensed by ALC
ALC president and CEO Patrick Daigle shared that the regulator noted an increase in advertising in the local market. He explained that those operators are not regulated by the Crown and that do not pay tax in the jurisdiction. Mr. Daigle reiterated that such gaming brands do not have permits to operate there, and as the criminal code determines, it is an illegal activity.
The CEO explained that according to research finds that two-thirds of Atlantic residents are not aware that this activity is unlawful since they see a proliferation of advertising and sports stars also endorse them. That is why many people believe that these kinds of marketing are legal in the Atlantic region, but this is not the case, elaborated Mr. Daigle.
Speaking of legal iGaming, recently ALC provided a digital casino platform for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador which started offering regulated online gambling. Currently, the province is the only Canadian jurisdiction with no land-based casinos, therefore the introduction of iGaming was a highly-awaited one. The other two provinces are New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
However, gambling expert Dave Briggs says those gambling protocols are unrealistic and outdated. He did note that those are essentially illegal in the region, but in reality, Canadians have been playing on unlawful websites for over 20 years now. He also stated the money is poured out of the provinces, and it cannot be invested into problem gambling resources.
Additionally, Mr. Briggs acknowledges ALC’s argument about regional money retention but believes lost revenue can be recovered through legalizing gambling and taxation. He cites the thriving Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation and tax revenue from external operators as beneficial. He emphasized the need for festivals to avoid advertising illegal gambling and highlighted the gray area in this regard.
Bolstering iCasino Offerings
Meanwhile, ALC is working on improving its digital casino offering on its official gambling platform. In August 2023, the Crown agency partnered with NeoGames S.A subsidiary Wizard Games. Via the deal, the latter provided its top-of-the-range online gaming titles to the lottery. Users now have access to hit titles such as Spirit of Mustang and Flamin’ 7’s.
Source: Haggett, Derek “‘They don’t have a license’: Atlantic Lottery concerned about advertising at music festival” CTV News, August 30, 2023