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Ontario Lottery Finally Launching First Regulated Gambling SitePublished November 14, 2014 by Lee R
The Ontario lottery wants to reap the revenues of the grey market.
A landmark model of regulated gambling site is being unveiled in the Ontario Lottery after four years of development in Canada. The launch of the new PlayOLG marks the fifth fully regulated online state gambling platform.
Large Pool of Players
PlayOLG is currently available to upwards of 50,000 players of OLG’s Circle Rewards Program. Members of that program were emailed earlier this week for user feedback before the official launch.
The state-sponsored site will open with a selection of slots and table games like video poker and roulette as well as standard lottery products. Further integration in the future will incorporate offerings of poker, bingo and sports betting, so that this lottery site is in effect set to become a full-scale regulated and state-sponsored iGaming online venue.
This is the end of a long haul since Ontario's initial announcement of its intention to add state revenue via online gaming back in 2010 to address the budget deficit.
Huge Grey Market Spurred Ontario Regulation Efforts
The benefits have long appealed to a province in a country whose wide spaces and sparse population have given rise to a huge grey market customer base for online gambling.
Canada as a country has traditionally turned a so-called blind eye to citizens gambling off shore in the grey market, but Ontario as a province is concerned about losing out on revenues as a result of this softened stance, estimating that half a million Ontarians were already gambling regularly on sites like PokerStars (owned by Toronto-based Amaya) to the tune of between $400 million to $500 million in lost gross revenues for the provincial authority.
Despite the grey market popularity of gambling, Ontario spokesman Tony Bitoni cites OLG’s market research reflects a significant market for “trusted” government-regulated gaming as well. PlayOLG represents a site where users can trust that winnings will always be paid out, in the same manner that lottery tickets always are.