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Canadian Province Of Ontario Set To Join The Online Gambling World

The Canadian province of Ontario has recently announced their first steps towards the introduction of online gaming, with the local regulatory body Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) inviting members of their Winners Circle initiative to test drive a variety of iGames.

This announcement sees Ontario joining fellow Canadian provinces Atlantic, British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec in offering local government regulated online gambling.

In what the OLG is calling a phased in approach, 53,000 gamers who already have an affiliation with the regulatory body through the Winners Circle program have been invited to try out the games, and offer their feedback and opinions before the website is rolled out in full and is offered to the people of Ontario on a wider basis.

What Will Be on Offer

Games players can expect to play on the new OLG websites include blackjack, poker, roulette, video slots and more.  This will come as fantastic news for casino providers such as Microgaming, Playtech, and especially NetEntertainment, whose business has grown massively over the last 12 months.

Additional services which the OLG is looking to provide through their dedicated website include the purchasing of lottery tickets, live play poker amongst other gamers, and betting on the outcomes of professional sports.

At this stage only residents of Ontario will be able to access the OLG website, and new members looking to sign up to the site will require the appropriate local identification, such as a driver’s license, which proves both their identity and residential address.

Another stipulation that looks to be set in place will be the requirement that all financial transactions that take place through the website occur through credit or debit cards.

The Government and the Numbers

The Ontario government has stated that the move online makes sense to them, as an estimated half a million internet gamers are already gambling offshore through a variety of online casinos and through less than legitimate avenues.

It is estimated that up to $500 million dollars is being gambled by Ontario citizens each year; offshore and out of the hands of the local authorities who would rather have their hands on that considerable amount of money.

With the introduction of this new venture, the OLG is hoping to bring in $375 in gambling revenue to the province over the next five years.

Protection Afforded To Gamers

Additionally to the associated revenue that Ontario are hoping to attain by regulating online gaming through their own website, the government is of the belief that by introducing gaming under their own means, they can add certainty and legality to the industry and offer some protection to gamers from unscrupulous practices.

Players will need to register to play through the OLG site, with deposit, loss and time limits also being put in place. Gamblers behaviour will be monitored for irregularities, and warning messages will appear onscreen throughout a players gaming experience regarding the dangers of gambling.