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Mar 25, 5: May 11, 7: In Canada, gambling falls under provincial jurisdiction, but offshore sites don't pay attention to boundaries. Thousands of offshore gaming sites are based in locales such as Gibraltar, the Isle of Gambping, and Cyprus. Prior to that he worked for newspapers. CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links. Online gambling is often called a "legal grey area," but does that mean Canadians playing a few hands of internet poker in their living rooms should one day expect a SWAT team to crash through the door and seize their laptop?
The short answer is no. Whether the issue is offshore gambling sites, file sharing, or Uberthe laws of the land are still taking time to catch up to the complexities of a connected world. In Lehal, gambling falls under provincial jurisdiction. That liquid casino cruise florida is clear.
The greyness stems gamling the state sanctioned gambling, which doesn't pay attention to provincial boundaries. Thousands of offshore gaming sites are based in locales such as Gibraltar, casino magic online Isle of Man, and Cyprus, where gambling rules are wide open and governments welcome legal tax revenue.
As for the legal status of these offshore operators in Canada, Michael Lipton, a lawyer and gaming law expert with Dickinson Wright in Toronto, says the issue is best understood by looking at legal legality of offshore sites accepting bets from Canada, as well as what the law says about bets made by Canadians. For gamblers, gambliing doesn't see anything in Canada's Criminal Code that makes wagering through an offshore site illegal.
The trickier part lt the equation is the legality of offshore operators taking bets from Canada. Prior to the internet, the legal ins and outs of gambling were lebal straightforward. Gamblng province determined its own rules for gambling, whether casinos, bingosor lotteries. An exception lrgal horse racing, which is regulated by the Canadian Parimutuel Agency, a unit of the federal agriculture department.
Over ganbling, every province except for Saskatchewan has moved towards online gambling. It added poker ix and online casino games and bingo a year later. Manitoba and Quebec have a similar menu of online gambling options, as legal Ontario as of Gambling.
Alberta is likely to join them later this year. Aside from a few inter-provincial agreements, outside bettors are restricted from playing on provincial sites. The legality of offshore gambling sites accepting bets from Canadians has yet to be tested in court. Since gambling is a provincial concern, any legal uncertainty comes down to whether the Criminal Code prohibits offshore operators from doing business with Canadians.
Supreme Court offered some clarity in in a case involving Starnet Communications International. The company, which had a gambling licence from Antigua, also kept an office in Vancouver. The court found that a Canadian-based gambling site couldn't legally accept bets from Canadians.
The part of the law that hasn't yet been tested in court concerns offshore sites that don't have a physical presence here. Just a click away gabling gamblers, is what legla doing illegal? Until ti gambling has its day in court, uncertainty will linger over its legal status.
Lipton, however, says other cases, for issues such as copyright protection, show that foreign operators that maintain a substantial connection to Canada can be found to be violating Canadian law. If an offshore site, for example, does business here — advertises here, enters into contracts and knowingly accepts bets from Canadians — then that would bring the operator under Canada's jurisdiction. More to the point, since gambling is the sole purview of the provinces, lrgal sites could be breaking Canadian laws every day.
To date, the RCMP hasn't brought a case forward against legal offshore gambling operator. It's possible this could happen, but doing so would take time and resources not to mention navigating the complexities of international extradition. An arguably more fraught aspect — whether from a legal, political, or law enforcement point of view — of prosecuting a case against legal offshore site is the jurisdictional claims of the Kahnawake First Nation in Quebec.
Just down the road from Montreal, it's not physically offshore, yet the Kahnawake Gaming Commission is one of the world's largest online gambling hosts. For the RCMP to pursue an overseas operator may first require a serious legal and political engagement with First Nations territorial sovereignty. At best, that would mean a drawn casino case court case. At worst, memories of an Oka-style standoff serve as a warning.
Of gamblingg, Canadian law enforcement seems preoccupied with terrorism, drugs, and biker gangs. In that context, it's understandable to see why the RCMP, which didn't respond to requests for comment about Kahnawake gaming, may have put online gambling on the back burner. Now that more provinces are committing to online gaming, it remains to be seen whether gambling will become more of a priority.
Given the money that's currently flowing to offshore sites, though, reasons appear to be mo unting gambljng any legal grey areas to become more black and white. Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner Jt chooses.
Please note gamblnig CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Legal are legal while open. Gamgling reserve lac viex desert casino right to close comments at any time.
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About The Author Paul Haavardsrud. Related Stories Online gambling: Is it worth the risk for governments? Alberta ponders government run online gambling Online gambling a risk for provinces: External Links Sports betting a billion baron casino grey zone: Globe and Mail Note: Provincial jurisdiction The trickier part of the equation is the legality of offshore operators taking bets from Canada.
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