Canadian online gambling.Atlantic Lottery seeks to get into emerging market for online casino gaming as traditional lottery products go out of fashion.

The Atlantic Lottery, which operates all legalized gaming in Canada’s Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, has announced the desire to step into the world of internet gambling in Canada.
canadian online gambling
Company executives cited the fact that demand is falling for its traditional lottery products like tickets and scratch cards as well as video lottery services. Most concerning, Canadians under the age of 30 don’t appear to be interested in buying lottery tickets anymore.
Atlantic Lottery sees online gambling as way to boost sagging revenues
Given the inability to attract newer, younger customers, the corporation is viewing the emerging internet and mobile casino market as a way of reversing its fortunes.

Considering that Canadians are free to gamble with foreign-operated sites that don’t pay taxes to the Canadian government, a statement from the company may have struck a nerve:

Canadian online gambling. “Atlantic Canadians are spending millions of dollars annually on these gambling sites that operate outside of any regulations established by our governments. Unlike Atlantic Lottery, those sites' profits don't stay in the region to support our communities.”

Canadian online gambling. Given the Canadian governments’ inability to pass significant changes to gambling laws (bill C-290, for example), the chances of a new bill look slim, but one can hope.
What seemed to be a halting trend to online gambling in Canada is really just a minor sputter. The apparent trend was initiated with the withdrawal of operators Matchbook and Bet Fred and payment processor Skrill from the Canadian market last year and followed the Ladbrokes Canada announcement that customers could no longer play there and had to withdraw funds by October 1st.
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DURING these past several weeks, many football fans, and even those who are not, have been caught up with the frenzy and excitement of picking winning teams, choosing preferred scores and banking on betting possibilities.
While phone calls and messages from bookies and friendly betting circles slowly fade, notifications and warnings from money lenders and loan sharks have taken their place.
Sammy (not his real name), 29, has RM60,000 in cold, hard cash zipped up in the bag on his lap, but even that is not enough to pay back the two loan sharks.
“I got caught up with the World Cup fever like many of my friends.
“But unlike them, this is the first time I’m borrowing money to gamble.
“In fact, I’m not a gambling addict.
“I rarely go to casinos, and when I do, it’s just to have fun with family members and friends.
“I started to gamble online using my friend’s account.
“He would call me before placing his own bets and asked how much I would like to put on each team. It was small amounts at first, but as the games got more interesting, I started to bet in the thousands,” said the contractor.
When Sammy ran out of money to gamble, his friend introduced him to an “acquaintance” who had cash to lend.
“Maybe it was naïve of me, but it didn’t occur to me that he was an Ah Long. I assumed it was someone with spare cash. However, once I started taking money from him, there was no end. When I tried to tell him that I would pay him in instalments, he became aggressive. It was only then that I realised that I was one of the many entangled with loan sharks.
“Everything happened very fast after our first confrontation. I rushed home one day to find my wife and two kids crying because there was red paint on our house door. Over the next couple of days, there were threatening calls. Trying to fix things, I borrowed from someone else to help pay off this guy, but could not keep up with the interest payment.
“Out of fear, I moved my wife and kids to my relative’s house out of the state. My kids have had to miss school for weeks. I’m desperate and scared. I consider myself an educated person and can’t come to terms with the fact that I’m involved with Ah Long.”
MCA Public Service and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong deals with such cases on a daily basis, and he has seen an increase since the World Cup started.
“What can we do in such cases? All I can do is talk to the Ah Long.
“I’ve got my people to call Sammy’s Ah Long and arrange for a discussion.
“I will inform the Ah Long that he is able to pay only RM60,000 out of the RM87,000 he owes.
“If they’re agreeable, that would be great. Otherwise, we’ll arrange an instalment plan that everyone is happy with. Usually, the loan sharks will agree because this means they’re at least getting something back.
“We never see the real Ah Long, we only see their runners. Who knows, most of these loan sharks could be some tycoon or Datuk,” he said.
Since January, Chong’s department has received 250 loan shark cases, involving 1,663 loan sharks and a sum of RM28,080,538.
“It’s just half a year and the cases are already piling up. In the first week of July, we’ve seen two cases, of which one is Sammy’s. More than 80 per cent of cases each year involve gambling.
“I have no doubt that this World Cup has created a lot of gamblers, which will in turn create a lot of loan shark cases. Although the number of Chinese borrowers is still the highest (178), those that involve Malays and Indians have also risen.
“There have been 48 cases of Malays borrowing from loan sharks and 24 cases of Indians this year. Surprisingly, many of the Malay and Indian cases involve women. While some borrow for their husbands, others get involved in get-rich-quick scams,” he added.

State governments are struggling to find new sources of revenue to breathe life into their budgets. One of the main reasons many support the legalization of online casinos is the belief that such a move would help boost state tax revenues and stimulate such economies. When New Jersey passed and implemented its bill to allow online gaming, Governor Chris Christie predicted that internet casino gambling would bring in $160 million of revenue in its first year. However, this number was met with widespread skepticism from local lawmakers and experts within the industry who were ultimately correct in their assessment that Governor Christie’s calculation was slightly exaggerated; Fitch Ratings Service has the actual results being nearly 45% below expectations.

Online gaming is not the sure bet many expected and land-based casinos seem to be the gamer’s preference when it comes to gambling. Yet, with the recent string of casinos closing, that may not be case for much longer. Recently, one branch of Harrah’s Casino – Harrah’s Tunica Hotel & Casino – closed in Mississippi. While some state that regulated online gaming will not come directly at the expense of land-based casino revenue, in order to fully benefit from gaming, casinos may have to choose whether to focus a significant amount of their efforts on either online or land-based casinos.

Governor of New Jersey at a town hall in Hills...
Governor Chris Christie believed that casino gambling would bring in lofty figures in its first year. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Online Casinos
There are multiple likely benefits attached to the expansion of online casinos. Although such proliferation of online gambling may provide the on-board states with minimal tax revenue – or not meet the lofty expectations as seen in New Jersey’s case – online casinos come with much less expenses, and therefore are predicted to produce a larger return than land-based casinos. Furthermore, online casinos allow gamers to participate without the requirement of leaving the comfort of their own home. This convenient aspect provides the player with flexibility to accomplish and enjoy partaking in a number of other tasks while attempting to win money. Along with the ability to complete other tasks, online casinos also permit players to easily jump from game to game with the click of a button. The benefits somewhat mirror those concerning staying at home to watch major sporting events vs. attending the events live, a battle previously referenced as the biggest sports rivalry in 2014.

That flexibility comes with consequences for the online casino. Casinos would surely prefer that players have little-to-no distractions surrounding them that could easily take them away from the game at hand. It is much easier for one to quickly exit a game once frustration starts to mount when the winnings are slow to come. Also, as previously stated, the potential revenue gained from online casinos has not been as high as once anticipated. Along with the existence of outside distractions, another reason for this occurrence – at least as seen in New Jersey – is the difficulty would-be internet gamblers faced in signing online. With online casinos trying their best to abide by state regulations, some operators may exercise an abundance of caution in assuring that players actually reside in the state, a requirement websites must meet to keep their licenses needed to conduct business.

Land-based Casinos
While the convenience of online casinos is not evident with this form of gaming, the benefits provided by land-based casinos are more readily seen within a state’s economy. In Mississippi, 29 casinos employ roughly 23,000 people, ranging from blackjack dealers, slot technicians, and law enforcement. The state ranks third – behind Nevada and New Jersey, respectively – in casino employment, and paid employees $830 million in 2013. One of the reasons for the lower expenses embraced by online casinos is that fewer people are needed to run the online service. However, less people receiving a paycheck equates to fewer people paying income tax and reinvesting into the state’s economy.

Land-based casino revenues have dropped in recent years. This factor has contributed to the closing of multiple casinos across the United States. The oversaturation of casino venues, especially in the Northeast, has resulted in consumers looking for locations that offer much more than open tables to gamble away their money. Additionally, non-gaming entertainment has become a key factor in encouraging players to leave their homes. The closure and restructuring of casinos may be viewed as a positive for the future health of land-based casinos, but until that time comes, only a select few will be able to reap the profits.

There are many pros and cons that come with operating online and land-based casinos. It is not impossible to operate both at the same time. Nevertheless, in order to fully get out what players are putting in, it may be wise for operators to select one method for the time being.

MCA Public Service and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong says online betting is the downfall of many.
“When one mentions gambling, the first thing that comes to mind is betting dens, such as casinos. However, as we’ve noticed during this World Cup, online betting is becoming a huge favourite.
“Unfortunately, the world of online betting is so easily accessible and convenient that everyone can get hooked and drown in debt before they even know it. What makes it even more dangerous is the fact that gamblers can hide behind their laptops and computers, without anyone ever realising they’re addicted to gambling.”
He said the root of the problem was the same as other forms of gambling addiction — greed.
“I’ve seen so many cases where greed causes people to get entangled in gambling disasters. For these people, they believe that the only way they can get rich fast is by gambling.
“Besides greed, many online gamblers enjoy the excitement, energy and thrill of instant gambling — it’s all about the euphoria. For these gamblers, winning is encouragement to gamble more and losing is motivation to try harder. They are never satisfied; they’re always looking for more.”
The presence of Ah Long (loan sharks) was increasing, Chong added.
“You may not notice them, but they are around, especially in casinos. They are dressed like everyone else, but they have their own body language to tell them apart, such as hands in pockets. Gambling addicts get trapped when they borrow from one Ah Long to pay off another. When they lose, they are greedy and desperate, so they take from another Ah Long. Before they realise it, they have borrowed RM10,000 from 10 Ah Long at a daily interest of 10 per cent. Although these gamblers would like people to think they are victims, they are not. How can they be? They borrow money to gamble without any intention of paying back.”
Chong said it was a shame that these gambling addicts put their families at risk.
“Ultimately, the families are the real victims. So, what can family members do when there are 10 Ah Long coming after you? My advice is to run. Most of the time that is the only option to save yourself and your family.”

Online gambling in the Philippines is going to overtake local casinos sooner than later. That’s the fearless forecast of Dennis Valdez, president of PhilWeb, the only authorized online gambling operator in the Philippines.

According to Valdez, more and more aspects of everyday life continue to shift into the digital realm, including, but not limited to, online gambling.

Even in Las Vegas, the “entertainment capital of the world”, several casinos have been forced to downsize and close down operations because of the steady decrease in attendance figures due to the rise of online gaming sites.

Leading the way for the Philippine online gambling industry are the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (Pagcor) e-Games cafes.

Owned by PhilWeb Corporation, these cafes are similar to regular Internet cafes except that they are equipped with a series of terminals where customers can log in and play casino games.

These e-Games cafes guarantee users a world-class gaming experience by combining “the thrill and excitement of a live casino with the comfort and pleasure of great personalized service”.

Instead of having to go to a casino and move around to try different games, e-Games houses over 300 casino games including Baccarat, Blackjack, slot games, video poker, and other specialty games all in one terminal, making switching in between games quick and hassle-free.

PhilWeb currently owns 299 e-Games cafes nationwide, housing a total of around 8,000 terminals for online gambling.

Around half of these cafes are located within the Metro Manila area, while the others are distributed among various provinces. Most of them operate around the clock, and all cafes cater only to registered users aged 21 and above.

According to Valdez, the company’s Internet gambling business continues to be one of their strongest sources of income. In 2012 alone, the online gaming industry generated a total revenue of P5 billion, P1.5 billion of which was earned by PhilWeb.

Lucrative as this multi-billion peso business may be, it all began with a small batch of 11 PAGCOR e-Casino Filipino Internet Casino Stations (ICS), rolled out in 2004 by Pagcor and PhilWeb. These ICS branches slowly increased in number each year, and in February 2008, Pagcor rebranded them as Pagcor e-Games cafes.

By 2011, the total number of e-Games cafes in the country had reached 200, its branches reaching provinces as far as Cotabato, Zamboanga, Davao, and Tarlac. The year 2011 also saw the e-Games business receive a record high of P424 million for gross bets.

“It’s not so easy. Like any other new business, it’s not like you turn on a switch and then all of a sudden your revenue doubles,” Valdez said. “There’s a build-up. Gradually customers will come in, they’ll be happy with the service, ideally, then it’ll snowball, and then you’ll hit a certain point where you’re actually profitable.”

Currently, customers can only pay and play within the e-Games branches.

e-Games does have a website, but no e-commerce takes place within the site, since Pagcor has not yet authorized any kind of system where one can log in, buy, or gamble anywhere outside of authorized cafes.

Meanwhile, a bill at the House of Representatives has been filed seeking regulation of online gambling.

But even if it does become a law, it’s not likely to discourage PhilWeb. After all, expanding their gambling operations online still remains attractive for PhilWeb, says Valdez.

However, security becomes a main issue when venturing into purely digital transactions, since it poses threats such as hacking and credit robbing to user accounts.

But with the continual shift of Filipinos into the digital age, such an idea doesn’t seem very far off.

What fueled online gaming’s popularity in the first place was the fact that it offered an alternative means of gambling–one more attractive to a larger population, more convenient than traditional methods, and in some countries, even accessible from the comfort of one’s own home.

Valdez did note that many new companies are developing payment solutions and PhilWeb need only look at which ones are going to be acceptable to Pagcor.

Like any business development initiatives, it is still hard to predict any kind of outcome, but nevertheless, making online payments possible means one less obstacle to tackle.

With the right proposition to government, perhaps this new business model will be allowed to operate sometime in the future, Valdez said.

While the convenience and accessibility of online gambling may propel it far beyond its traditional counterpart, Valdez admitted that the “brick and mortar” model of the industry will never go away.

As with any industry, no matter what digital and technological advancements occur, there is no denying that the experience of a service or product in its original form can never be replaced.

Even if online gambling becomes the bigger industry, traditional gambling will always continue to attract a certain market. As the e-Games business continues to flourish, PhilWeb also looks at the possibility of pursuing new business ventures elsewhere.

The company currently has an ongoing business development in Myanmar. And, while they continue looking for possible solutions for online payment, Valdez ensures that, as far as the e-Games cafes go, “there’ll always be a little bit of expansion around.”

It's still 'game over' for Kern County internet cafes but many are now turning to online internet cafes instead.

"It's all over the place that you can do online gaming," Phillip Walker, member of the Internet Cafe Association of California, said.

One Bakersfield Craigslist ad offers internet cafe gambling from the comfort of your own home and allow users to collect cash through Western Union.

"You can just go to those websites, obtain an ID, log on to the accounts and it opens up a format for you to do the gaming," Walker said.

If you're thinking about visiting an online gambling website, the FBI says don't even think about rolling the dice.

According to the FBI website, cyber casinos and companies offering to transfer or wager money for gambling are against the law. However, when it comes to online fantasy leagues and Indian gaming sites, the rules aren't so clear.

"It's not quite clear yet as to the laws with the internet gaming because there's so much of a variety," Walker said.

"Some of them are games of skill and some are games of chance."

The city council did not want to take any chances when the brick and mortar internet cafes were allegedly becoming a safety hazard in the community last year.

"When you've got prostitution, illegal drug deals, loitering and it's causing a problem, we need to do something while we're coming up with a decision," Councilman Russel Johnson said.

It is the California Supreme Court's decision to review the appellate court's ruling on illegal internet cafes but it's not expected to affect local jurisdiction.