Online gambling is a booming business on both a national and international scale. We are well aware of the perils of becoming addicted to gambling and the impact this can have on the problem gambler, their family and the wider community. However, when people responsibly take a flutter, gambling is fun and has excellent revenue-generating potential for national and provincial economies.
In recent years, Canada has seen the online gambling market flourish to an industry worth close to $4 billion. Nevertheless, this doesn’t take away from the reality that various unlicensed operators are still alive and kicking. The main problem is that the individual gambler may use one of these providers thinking they’ve chosen a fully-regulated platform.
This is why knowing where to look and how to spot a rogue casino is imperative. One of the safer routes to go down is choosing a casino through an affiliate site. Such sites are usually run by a team of casino experts who know what to look for when it comes to ticking all the boxes in terms of trustworthiness and reliability. NoDeposit365.ca is a great example of such a site. Not only do players benefit from exclusively negotiated no deposit bonuses, but each casino catalogued would have been tried and tested out to ensure it is indeed what it advertises itself to be.
Canadian Provinces Join Forces
The unscrupulous nature of unlicensed casinos means that some local lottery corporations have felt that they’re missing out on their fair share of profits. For this reason, we’ve recently seen organizations across the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, British Colombia and Atlantic Canada coming together to form a coalition dedicated to highlighting the illegal nature of unlicensed casino portals and limiting offshore operators advertising illegally in their territories and skimming potential profits from the region.
Steve Lautisher, the executive vice-president of business operations with Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), highlighted how important it is to increase awareness of this type of advertising in the sports gaming sector which has become more prevalent recently.
Although Alberta has an impressive range of online gambling offerings, including sports betting and virtual casinos, on their PlayAlberta.ca website, launched in September 2020, betting on sports games only officially became legal in 2021 as a result of federal changes.
While research carried out by H2 Gambling Capital shows that the online gambling market in Canada amounts to $3.8 billion at present and is expected to grow to an impressive $6.2 billion by 2026, the coalition of gaming agencies is keen to acknowledge the risks that this market has for individuals who are somewhat oblivious to the fact they may be engaging with illegal websites rather than properly regulated platforms. Lautischer demonstrated the severe nature of the problem by highlighting that punters spent between $400-$500 million a year on unregulated iGaming sites in Alberta alone.
Much of this is caused as a result of advertising which is so pervasive that it becomes hard to avoid. Whether the consumer is exposed to the adverts that feature during televised sports games or while browsing the internet, it tends to surround us and influence our actions subconsciously.
At the end of the day, the coalition isn’t so concerned with dismantling illegal operations beyond Canada’s borders, but it does hope to increase awareness and warn residents about the risks of gambling via an illegal platform. In his statement, Lautisher expressed the sentiment that he wanted gamblers to stop blindly accepting what is presented via advertising channels but adopt a more critical mindset about where they share personal and financial information.
While its goal is not to directly dismantle illegal operations outside Canada’s borders, the coalition hopes players can pay close attention to where they’re going as more could be at stake by betting through an illicit source.
Why Advertising In The Gambling Industry Needs to be Controlled
Whether it’s a legal or unlicensed casino we’re talking about, the fact remains, advertising gambling products has huge risks for society, especially when it is soon pervasive. Sure, the motive behind the adverts is to encourage more people to give gambling a try and having the ability to do so from the comfort of one’s own home increases the temptation, but when it captures the attention of vulnerable people looking to make a quick buck the risk of more and more people developing an addiction increases.
Beyond the addiction itself, the nature of online gambling vis a vis having a flutter at a traditional land-based casino makes it harder to manage. David Hodgins, a University of Calgary psychology professor and head of the school’s Addictive Behavior Lab, makes a pertinent point that online casinos can be accessed around the clock. Without the presence of other people, the opportunities to limit addictive behavior are reduced. He says that provincial governments, therefore, have a responsibility to provide safeguards on their gambling sites to protect vulnerable people.
He went on to say that local sites and legitimate gambling portals tend to display a solid commitment to implementing responsible gambling methods, such as allowing clients to set budgetary limits on their gambling profiles or ban themselves for certain periods. Unregulated sites don’t do this, which is why they’re particularly risky.
Hodgins, therefore, supports the work of the coalition in terms of reducing the number of illegal operations and also imposing specific guidelines when it comes to advertising gambling services in general. He points out the fact that societies have now found ways to regulate other addictive substances such as alcohol and tobacco, and this now needs to be extended to gambling. Of course, there will always be a degree of resistance to these changes, but there is no doubt that public sentiment can also change over time when they see the benefits of regulation.
Recent moves by provincial authorities and other relevant parties, therefore, acknowledge the lucrative nature of gambling and the potential benefits it brings in generating incomes. However, it’s also apparent that regulating advertising within the industry and cracking down on illegal operations that don’t protect the consumer is essential.
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