“Unprecedented growth” for online casinos due to the pandemic has created a massive opportunity for Atlantic Provinces to potentially raise millions of dollars in revenue.
This was the sales pitch put forward by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) as it bid to encourage provinces to move fast with regards to legalising online casinos within their borders. The ALC implored the provinces to act “immediately” in order to capitalise on the pandemic and the supposed revenue opportunity that it had created.
The information has come from a business proposal that was sent to the PEI government by the ALC on April 23, just a month into the global covid-19 pandemic. The document has come into the pubic eye this week as part of it was tabled by MLA Robert Henderson in the P.E.I. Legislature. It has since come to light that parallel information and business proposals were sent to the other three Atlantic Provinces – New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
The message of the documentation was fairly simple – that the provinces should act quickly to legalise online casino gaming within their borders to capitalise on increased revenue potential during coronavirus lockdowns.
It’s a message that certainly had a lot of grounding in reality. In both Canada, and elsewhere in the world, online casino gaming and sports wagering had both increased in the month of lockdown that had passed. However, by some it was viewed has a crass attempt by the ALC to exploit the global pandemic in order to rush through a legislative change they had been unsuccessfully trying to push through for over a decade.
The ALC’s approach has ultimately achieved what it set out to do – though perhaps not as quickly and as resolutely. New Brunswick was the quickest to act, though still its government didn’t open up an online casino to its residents until August 2020 – some four months after the information was sent.
New Brunswick currently remains the sole Atlantic Province with an active online casino available to its residents through the ALC. PEI and Nova Scotia do have the wheels in motion and are expected to follow suit in delivering a legal online casino platform to their residents.
Having been chasing this for over a decade, the ALC will see this as something of a victory, though they haven’t gotten the immediate reaction they asked for. PEI and Nova Scotia most likely won’t have their legal casinos up and running, when the crux of the pandemic will most likely be behind us. Newfoundland and Labrador have, as of yet, declined to act upon the information.
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