British Columbia officials are putting a stop to international online gambling operators who are offering their services to residents. A warning has been sent out telling operators from other countries to stay away.
Reportedly, towards the end of August, the British Columbia Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch sent out a letter to online gambling operators who were taking wagers from residents of the province. The letters were sent out to 19 different CEOs to warn the operators that if the activities continue they would likely be in violation of the Criminal Code of Canada as well as the Gaming Control Act.
eGaming Review (subscription) was able to obtain a copy of the letter which stated that only the British Columbia Lottery Corporation has the right to conduct, manage and operate the lottery in the area. No other group is allowed to operate in British Columbia in regards to gaming without having the approval of the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch.
The letter continues by stating that British Columbia has provided their list of offenders with other provinces while at the same time, discussions take place in regards to the legal framework for gambling in the province. Discussions are planned to take place in person with regulators of Europe to gain insight into tactics to protect their monopoly.
While British Columbia has interpreted the Criminal Code to their advantage, others argue that the sites operated internationally are legal as long as they aren’t physically located in Canada.
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation will most likely have limited options if the international sites choose to ignore the letter and efforts to push the gaming sites out. Other provinces have tried in the past to see online gaming sites stop offering services, including Quebec and Ontario. Quebec tried to fight international operators by getting online service providers to block IP addresses of domains of the international sites but this act was recently questioned by the federal communications regulator of Canada.
So for now, international operators seem to be most likely safe and may continue to offer services in the region.