The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC), serves Canadian provinces. It had introduced online casino gaming in New Brunswick as a pilot project last summer.
Now the plan is to is looking to roll out the same option in Prince Edward Island (PEI) and Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador are still officially on the fence.
Given its legality under Canadian law if offered by provincial lottery corporations, it shouldn’t pose much of a problem. In practice, however, the provinces must individually choose the available forms of gambling. It varies with the local arrangements.
The pandemic has changed the face of Canadian gambling but politicians seem to be on board with gambling revenues. Nevertheless, lottery ticket sales have declined. People are turning to online casinos and poker rooms during the quarantine.
A larger trend
The Liberal government is joining the opposition parties in seeking to legalize single-game sports wagering. Doug Ford’s Ontario government is pushing to end the lottery’s monopoly on iGaming.
It means that the expansion of the multi-provincial lottery corporations into the online casino space is part of a larger trend.
New Brunswick under fire
There seems to be a pushback against the New Brunswick pilot project that currently features 44 games, supplied by IGT and a few other companies. In addition there is variety of slots and a few table games, including blackjack, roulette, pai-gow, and three-card poker.
The province is facing criticism for the high stakes limits set for the games. For most slots, maximum bet per spin is between $40 and $80. Spartacus, Gladiator of Rome, features a maximum of $100. It is higher for the table games.
IGT’s Blackjack allows up to $500 per hand.
What are critics up in arms about. ALC has imposed a maximum wager of $2.50 per spin on its video lottery terminals in the province. They worry that risks are posed if such a limit is necessary for VLTs.
The lottery is answering the claim. It has to compete with illegal offshore sites known for higher limits – common problem. Those in favor of the local sites believe it offers a safer way to gamble.
In other provinces
Are there the same concerns in the small province of PEI with a population of just over 150,000. Nonetheless, it will be a great revenue source per ALC with a potential net profit of around $750,000 a year in the first year of operation alone.
If all four provinces get on board, the net revenue could ultimately exceed $10 million per year.
Nova Scotia is the real prize. It has 40% of the region’s total population. ALC hopes the gaming regulator will approve online casinos. Per sources, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation is “evaluating” the possibility.
Newfoundland may take more time to enter the fold as it doesn’t have a casino. Its lottery revenues only show a slight decline. Minister of Finance Siobahn Coady said that the government “hasn’t made a decision.”