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Canadian Gambling Regulation Opens Up Market For New Poker Networks

For Canadian poker players, opportunities to test themselves against others on big networks with a range of stakes and tables has until now been confined to offshore sites with gambling apps like 888, Leo Vegas and Bet365, or the provincial government sites like PlayNow or OLG.

This is because the market for private betting firms based in Canada to set up poker networks has been outlawed for decades by the Criminal Code.

But it looks like that is all about to change and a new and fully regulated gaming market with sports betting, casino and poker is on the cards.

In June this year, Private Member’s Bill C-218 which legalises single event sports betting, was finally passed through the House of Commons and Senate in Canada, receiving Royal Assent in the first week of July.

Whilst the bill only refers to sports betting, it is widely seen as the first step towards a new era of gambling regulation for Canada that will match what is happening in the US right now. Not only will it allow the state-run sites like PlayNow to offer 100s of new betting markets, but it also gives each Province the power to issues licenses to private firms to set up websites and start taking bets in the country.

Canada Online Poker

Whilst the focus to begin with will be on sports betting, it is widely believed that in the coming months and years private casino, bingo and poker operators will also set up in Canada.

Ontario are leading the charge with the newly formed Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) issuing a white paper outlining how their regulated market will look, with operators paying a revenue share from all business to the AGCO for the right to offer their games to Canadian players.

And within that White Paper is reference to Peer to Peer Games and Offerings, which includes Poker, saying that the potential to share liquidity across a pool from all Provinces of Canada is also being considered.

This is exciting news for Canada’s poker population who will for the first time be able to play against fellow Canucks on tables where the taxes from the revenue generated will be paid to their own government and operators will be subject to rules and regulations laid down within their own country.

So far the biggest name to announce interest in the new regulated market is 888 who are looking to expand their Sports Illustrated partnership in the territory. If they chose to apply for a license under the new rules it is expected that eventually they will look to offer their casino and poker products legally and under license there too.

888 are the first to show interest, but we should expect all the big firms to follow and a much-changed gambling market to evolve over the next decade. Until then of course, you can still legally enjoy poker tables with offshore operators running global poker rooms.

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Monthly
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