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Canadian Federal Budget Affects Online Gambling

By: Russell Potvin , Tues. Feb. 18, 2014

Online Gambling Affected By Canadian Federal Budget

Online gambling law is almost always complicated.

There are so many aspects of the industry that need to be regulated and so much land-based competition in most areas that there is often a big clash of different objectives that can leave people wondering just what exactly is going on. This wouldn't be a poor way to describe what's happening lately with the Canadian federal budget and online gambling in that country. The government is taking a position that online casinos need to improve their record-keeping, but there could be a number of motives for doing so.

First of all, there's a law called the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act, known as the PCTFA for short, that makes land-based casinos keep very detailed financial records so that everything they take in and spend is accounted for. The PCTFA helps to keep money out of the hands of people who would act against Canada. This year's budget proposals include moves to force online casinos to adhere to this act in the same way that land-based casinos do. This is the central issue that's shaking things up right now in Canada for online gambling.

There are a few reasons that this could be happening now. They say that it's primarily for helping to prevent funding for people who would act against the country, but with most things in politics, there are a number of other potential motives as well. For example, there are a number of Canadian-operated online casinos, and increasing these financial record-keeping requirements could be seen as a move to try to limit the competition. A number of operators already stay out of Canada because of the complicated legal situation there, and this could complicate things for operators even more.

Whatever the case, I think most people can agree that there are multiple motives for making online casinos in Canada subject to the PCTFA. While it's not a sure thing yet, it's unlikely that anyone will strongly oppose the new measure, and part of that is because it looks bad as a politician when you oppose something that's supposed to help stop terrorism. By framing their position in this way, they have made it extremely difficult for anyone to stop them when it comes to forcing online casinos to adhere to the PCTFA.