Canada has a pretty restrictive gambling legislation. Its laws forbid anyone except the regional lottery corporations to offer and promote gambling services within the country, no matter if said casinos are land-based or online. Yet out of the five regional lotteries, only three have decided to include such services in their offer. Legal Canada casinos are operated by Loto Québec, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, leaving the residents of all other regions with no alternative but to use offshore operators – or play casually through social networks. This in spite of the fact that there is demand for such services – and the financial reports of the above three companies are there to show them.
All three online casinos operated by the three companies – PlayNow, run by BCLC, PlayOLG, and EspaceJeux, run by Loto Québec – have seen their revenues grow in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, compared to the one before. PlayNow has seen its revenues grow by 16% compared to the 2015-2016 fiscal year, to $22.1 million. EspaceJeux has reported total eGaming revenues $85.9 million as at March 31, 2017, exceeding its target of $75.4 million. OLG has not published its yearly financial report for the fiscal year 2016-2017 yet, but it expects its revenues to grow compared to the $49.2 million generated in the previous one.
Growth in this segment is, in turn, held back by the widespread access to “grey market” websites offering services that are often superior to what the local operators have. All provincial online gambling venues use the software provided by the same developer, IGT, which is – let’s face it – far behind its international competitors when it comes to game variety and quality. Besides, the incentives and bonuses offered by offshore operators also beat what local alternatives are available, making them an inferior choice for many. Still, the fact that they offer a local alternative to international businesses is enough to attract many players to them.
The situation might change a bit soon, at least for British Columbia and Manitoba residents, as NetEnt, a major international casino game developer and software provider, has obtained a license to offer its solutions to the British Columbia lottery. Soon, the players at PlayNow will be able to explore the massive game library offered by NetEnt, including a series of award-winning slot machines, table games, and many other interesting – and high-quality – games that will take their gaming experience to the next level. Perhaps this will help the corporation to boost its revenues further.by