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A Detailed Insight Into Canadian Gambling Industry [2022 Update]

  • Richard Marley
  • September 05, 2022
  • 8 minutes read
  • 240
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Even though Canada is not among the world’s gambling capitals, this business thrives there. The country’s regulatory authorities are quite flexible and lenient in regulating the industry. Therefore, gambling activities are becoming increasingly popular. The trending games include sports wagering, lotteries, bingo, slot machines and much more. As the number of activities is increasing, there has been a significant surge in the number of financial crime cases in the country. Thus, casinos and online gambling platforms are coming under renewed scrutiny by the local regulators seeking to crack down on money laundering and misconduct within the Canadian gambling industry.

The gambling industry in Canada is getting a shakeup and that’s good news for citizens. Laws are changing which means that locals will now have access to more secure options when it comes to online gambling. Regulatory authorities are taking a more aggressive turn and have classified casino money laundering misconduct as a threat to financial stability and security. All these efforts are made to safeguard the Canadian gambling industry from money launderers and terrorist organisations.

A Quick History of Canadian Gambling

The history of gambling in Canada pre-dates the arrival of European settlers for quite a while. Sticks and bones were used across the Pacific Northwest Coast by indigenous people to play a game called Slahal. Oral histories indicate that the game has pre-ice age origins. The European settlers held gambling in low regard, as dice games were considered illegal according to British common laws.

Fast forward to today, Canada has completely embraced gambling. Due to an increase in technological advancements, online gambling has become popular entertainment, with nearly 20 million locals involved in active gambling. This number has put the country in the number eight spot worldwide in online gambling. According to the Canadian gaming association reports, the gambling industry is responsible for providing 135,000 jobs and is worth in excess of 15 billion.

While the industry is growing, the legislation has also grown more and more liberal over time. In 2021, the government made online bets on single games legal, previously only parimutuel betting was allowed. Some states offer their online casinos but still didn’t register any offshore companies. On April 4, 2022, the shadows covering online gambling in the country were banished, the state of Ontario made iGaming legal, and since then, every gambling business willing to offer services in the country can now provide legal services.

Prevailing Crimes in the Canadian Gambling Industry 

Billions of dollars have been laundered using various methods including gambling in casinos, online betting, and much more. British Columbia’s gambling sector is considered a cash cow for the provincial government. In 2015-2016 the regulatory authorities generated a record 3.1 billion Canadian dollars in revenue by charging businesses and individuals for non-compliance of involvement in financial crimes, about one-third of which was used by the government.

Following are some of the cases  through the gambling industry that were brought to the light

Ontario Regulator Fines Ottawa Casino Owned By Hard Rock Over $200K For 36 Violations

With money laundering through gambling platforms being a hot topic in Canada, Ontario’s gaming regulatory authority has imposed a fine on a local casino for violating various obligations. Last Wednesday, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Canada issued monetary penalties totalling $227,250 (CAD) to HR Ottawa LP, which is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation Slots at Rideau Carleton Raceway in Ottawa, for 36 violations stemming from an audit. 

The AGCO identified that the casino failed to comply with the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming prompting it to impose a financial penalty. Among the 36 violations, the company is alleged to have provided advertising materials to people who had self-excluded from gambling activities, failed to implement anti-money laundering procedures and much more.

“The AGCO has the mandate and the responsibility to ensure casinos are operating with honesty, integrity, and in the public interest. These penalties are intended to drive the improvements needed at the Rideau Carleton Casino, and we will be carefully monitoring the casino’s activities to ensure these significant audit findings are addressed,” said AGCO CEO and Registrar Tom Mungham in the release.

RCMP Unravels “Sophisticated” Money Laundering Scheme at Casinos

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has imposed various penalties against criminals in connection to money laundering at casinos in the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara region

Superintendent Jeff Cooper, Officer in Charge of District Command, said: “This investigation, conducted with the assistance of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and FINTRAC, serves as a great example of how a coordinated enforcement effort can contribute to safer communities by disrupting the illegal drug trade and confiscating money laundering proceeds.”

The AGCO will further conduct a review of the regulated gaming entities to “assess the effectiveness of their controls in meeting their obligations under the Gaming Control Act, its regulations and the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.”

Gambling Regulation in Canada 2022

Canada is a federation which is divided into 10 provinces and three territories. At the federal level, the gambling industry is governed by the Criminal Code of Canada, which states such betting and other gambling activities are illegal unless local regulatory authorities decide to manage their own markets.

The Canadian Gambling Commission is responsible for regulating and legalizing gambling services while establishing communication channels with the public, government and media, but not with the local laws, for both land-based and online gambling that are controlled on the province level.

Alberta

Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission only permit charitable or religious firms to register as gambling service providers. The province has only one online gambling website called PlayAlberta.ca which is regulated. The main regulations that the service providers need to comply with are mentioned in the Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Act.

British Columbia

The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch of the Ministry of Finance (British Columbia) permit gambling companies to provide services under their provision. The gambling regulation of British Columbia is legislated under the light of the Gaming Control Act of 2002. Similarly to Alberta, these provisions also have only one regulated online site called PlayNow.

Manitoba

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation is responsible for regulating gambling service providers for this respective province. The authority registers businesses and ensures that the integrity of gaming and lottery remains intact. Additionally, it conducts background checks on registered gambling businesses. However, the gambling services providers that wish to operate in this province need to follow The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act and The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation Act.

How Shufti Pro Can Help 

The online gambling industry is adversely impacted due to the rising number of financial crimes, particularly money laundering and terrorist financing. To secure the operation regulatory authorities and the government are collaborating to make a rigid set of standards that are mandatory for businesses to operate in the country. 

Shufti Pro’s state-of-the-art KYC and AML services are the best options for gambling companies seeking to provide online gambling services. AI-powered ID verification solution allows companies to determine the real identities of customers before getting them on board. Powdered by thousands of AI models, Shufti Pro’s AML screening services thoroughly verify clients against 1700+ financial watchlists with 98.67% accuracy in less than a second. 

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