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2015 Sees the Launch of Ontario’s First Online Gaming Site Amidst Debate

Jan 09, 2015 - by Phyllis
Ontario Lottery online

Lottery is online in Ontario

There is a lot to be excited about as, in the latest gambling news, Ontario opened up its first online gambling site. This means gambling has never been more accessible to Ontarians, at least in a legal way. Although the company will give over much-needed tax revenues to help the government erase its $12.5 billion deficit, opposition parties beg to differ.

The New Democrats (ND) and Progressive Conservatives (PC) strongly feel that making gambling more accessible carries too many risks. For one, there is no sure way of monitoring under-aged gamblers from going on the online website.

Secondly, the site will prey on fragile gamblers. And last, but certainly not least, the ND and the PC feel that the government is not moving forward, by using a gambling strategy to get rid of its debts and to boost economy. Let us see what all sides have to say, through trusted news media.

Northumberland News: Ontario Launches online Gambling site

Ontario welcomed its first online gaming site, PlayOLG, launched last Thursday, January 8, 2015, by The Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG). OLG disclosed that, in keeping with Canadian gambling laws, the provincial government will be getting further tax revenues,thanks to the site,in addition to the $1.8 billion already being paid.

Relief is probably what was felt when PlayOLG went live, following a series of pre-trial testing. OLG had solicited members of its OLG Rewards program to test the site to see if it was internet-worthy. Gamblers will be able to play the virtual versions of games they would normally play in a casino.

So people can play blackjack, baccarat, single person poker and slots. Lottery tickets for Lotto Max and Lotto6/49 may be bought on the site although not from a mobile device. Mobile applications will be made available to the public, at a later date, when the online site will establish enough new games to do so.

Registration and a weekly maximum bet of $9, 999 are mandatory. However players can also obtain cash directly from bank accounts or credit cards. The expected amount to be deposited by the average gambler is about $75 to $80 weekly. PlayOLG hopes to attract some of the $500 million currently being spent on unregulated online sites in the province.

John Wisternoff, OLG Vice President, exclaimed that the company was thrilled with the milestone launching in Ontario, especially in the company’s move to modernize. Ontario follows in the footsteps of British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and all the Atlantic provinces who paved the way in offering online gambling in Canada.

The Progressive Conservatives (PC) were among those who were less than enthused about the launch. The PC harshly criticized the Liberals as searching for “nickels and dimes in the couch cushions, rather than trying to control their spending”. The New Democrats reiterated the view, adding that “the Liberal government’s gambling strategy isn’t progressive and will put vulnerable people at risk”/

Decidedly, in a bid to ease its $12.5 billion deficit by 2017-18, the liberal government may be heading for “social problems down the road from expanded gambling” warns Catherine Fife, also of the PC. She adds that “The research and the evidence points to expanding online gambling leading to increased addiction and increased debt”, said Fife.

Guelph Mercury: Ontario Launches Online Gambling Website

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) pledged to pay out more money to the provincial government when it launched its new online site, PlayOLG. This is a first in Ontario, following in the footsteps of British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec, who have already established online gambling in Canada.

The site was launched on Thursday, January 8, 2015. Gamblers can now indulge in casino-style games including blackjack, baccarat, poker, roulette and slots online. Players can also buy lottery tickets directly on the new OLG site.

OLG says that as Ontarians currently fork out $500 million a year on illegal online gambling sites they may turn to PlayOLG, as the legal and welcomed alternative. Ontarians will be asked to register to access the new site. Players will have to set obligatory weekly maximums on a weekly basis and may withdraw cash from bank accounts or use credit cards.

The Star: Ontario’s new online gambling website carries risks, says addiction centre

Both victory and downfall is being predicted by a spokesperson from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health with regards to the government’s gambling strategy. This is in reference to the OLG launching of Ontario’s first online gambling site, last Thursday, January 8, 2015.

The Manager of education and community resources at the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario, CAMH, Robert Murray said of PlayOLG, that the new online site may attract new gamblers who hadn’t dared to venture on to unregulated gaming sites.

Murray feels that since the PlayOLG has been endorsed by the government, under gambling laws, the gamblers will come out in numbers as it seems to offer convenience and a sense of security. This means though, that consequently, it will cause problems and may even lead to bankruptcy and suicide.

In its defense, Ryan Bissonnette, an OLG spokesperson, says gamblers will have $9, 999 limit per week. Only players 18 and up can play if they are an Ontario resident and must play within the province. He added that responsible gambling was key and PlayOLG offers privacy, safety and security.

OLG is keen to get some of the estimated $400 million to $500 million being injected into gambling elsewhere by some 500,000 Ontario gamblers. To get this much more clients and money, they are willing to pledge to hand over an estimated $375 in revenues to the province, over five years.

Ontario has now joined the ranks of British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and all of the Atlantic Provinces who already have online gambling sites offering gambling online guides, which feature slots and table games and which also sell lottery tickets.

Toronto Sun: OLG’s online gambling site launches provincewide.

PlayOLG, the first online gambling site, was launched on Thursday, January 8, under government approval. OLG hopes the venture will bring in around S375 million in profits, over the next five years. It declined however to reveal the total revenue projected or how much the private sector operator should expect to be getting.

Play-for-real and Play-for-free games include blackjack and single person poker games like Kitty Glitter were being offered to players. Tony Bitonti, OLG spokesman, revealed that a preview, by invitation only, was extended to 50, 000 loyal customers.

Thanks to the sneak treat and feedback from the mostly pleased 3,500 cutomers, who accepted the invitation, the company was able to carry out improvements on the registration and verification, before the provincewide launch went ahead. A password protection and identity verification were established to prevent underaged players from accessing the site.

The venture however raised a lot of criticism from the Progresseive Conservative party (PC) and the New Democrats party (ND). Vic Fedeli, a MPP of the PC, said that the government only approved the venture so it could get some easy money by preying on the vulberable people who will be taken in by the online site.

In the face of such accusations, OLG retaliated by saying that it has made it mandatory for gamblers to pre-register, and to set up up a $9, 999 deposit on a weekly basis. PlayOLG also offers voluntary controls for time-limit play requests. Under 18s cannot buy lottery tickets either.

OLG is hoping that people in Ontario will move away from the grey area market sites where they are spending between $400 and 500 million a year, and play on the PlayOLG site instead. With an expected revenue of over $375 to be accumulated in the next five years, it is no wonder that OLG boasts of ‘excitement being only a click away’ to lure the over 19 year olds to play online.

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