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How TV Shows, Pop Culture, & Politics Affect the Online Casino Industry

There is no denying it: media has an outsized impact on our lives. It invariably shapes our thoughts and beliefs, and ostensibly even our entertainment options. Media connects the populace with the policymakers, social and cultural influencers, talking heads, celebrities, business leaders, and our entertainment aficionados. It has been said that there is no such thing as bad press, and indeed this rings true.

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Provided the media is talking about it, people are listening, hanging onto every soundbite, update, and nugget of information. The media runs with stories until the proverbial wheels come off, often bringing obscurities into the mainstream and dominating our collective consciousness. Online casinos get lots of publicity across Canada, and for good reason!

The runaway success of the online casino industry in the United Kingdom was spurred in large part by the extensive licensing and regulation courtesy of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). The commission has adopted a liberal stance towards legal-age gambling in the island nation. Other regulatory authorities across Europe include the Isle of Man, the Government of Gibraltar, the Government of Curaçao, The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), and the European Commission. These are but a few of the many authorities tasked with overseeing legalisation of online gaming around the world. The US has fully legalized online casino gaming in New Jersey and Delaware, with online poker legislation in place in Nevada.

Pennsylvania is the latest market to open up to regulated gambling. Across the northern border in Canada, things have always been much easier for online casino fans. Canada has adopted a  laissez-faire approach to online casino gaming, and society advocates for increased liberalization of the Canadian online casino sector.

Play for the Love of the Game

In Canada, betting for real money is a prized activity for entertainment aficionados. While local gaming legislation is complicated, online casino gaming is an entirely different animal. Canadian casinos are not permitted to operate online casinos per se, but there are tons of online casinos offering great games to players across Canada.

In fact, there is no legislation making it illegal for eGaming services to be provided across Canada. Most of the offshore providers ply their services to Canadian legal-age players through the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC). Many fully-licensed online casinos operate in Canadian cyberspace today including the world’s most celebrated brand, 888 casino online in Canada.

The KGC regulatory body has full authority to issue licences to online gaming operators. As such, Canadian players enjoy a smorgasbord of options when it comes to online casinos. As a case in point, the Kahnawake Mohawk Nation is duly authorized to offer online casino games to legal age players.

While Canadian provinces and the federal government may frown against such practices, they certainly do not encroach upon the tribal authority’s ability to offer such services. CBS News, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, and scores of other major news networks routinely run stories relating to the legality and popularity of the online casino industry. CBC, like so many other networks, describes Canadian gaming as a ‘grey-area’ activity.

Canadian Online Casino Players Are Safe

The good news is that Canadian authorities will not act against players, regardless. However, Canada’s Criminal Code may take a position against offshore operators themselves. Online gaming companies offering their services to Canadian players run the risk of being sanctioned by the Canadian government. For the most part, legal issues related to gambling are overseen by the provincial authorities themselves.

For example, each Canadian province (there are 10 of them) is responsible for regulating lotteries, bingo games, and casinos. They are not involved in horserace regulation – that falls under the purview of the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency. With the exception of Saskatchewan, all other Canadian provinces have implemented some or other form of regulated gaming for sports betting, casino, poker, bingo, and lottery.

The Canadian government has maintained a degree of neutrality in respect of online casino services being offered to legal-age Canadian players. Until the issue is decided upon in court, the status quo remains. Québec’s native tribe – the Kahnawake First Nation has not faced any prosecution for issuing licences to foreign operators offering their services to Canadian players.

Government has other issues to contend with, and the news, film, print, and online media is less concerned with forcing the government’s hand than it is allowing people to decide for themselves where they wish to play, and who they wish to play with. If anything, government could get involved for purely financial reasons – to generate income streams off the tax revenues of online casinos offering their services to Canadian players.

TV and Film Casino Favorites in Canada

The world’s #1 movie streaming service, Netflix operates globally. In Canada, the top 5 casino movies on Netflix from 2015 included the following titles: Oceans 13, Runner Runner, Rounders, Casino, and Owning Mahowny. A feature article by Chris Gore on Film Threat showcased the most popular casino movies of all time, and Canadian viewers contributed towards their popularity. These movies include the violent delight, Casino from 1995, Ocean’s 11 from 2001, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas from 1998, The Sting from 1973, and The Hangover from 2009.

Beyond the big screen, there is a clear move towards increasing personal freedoms, not least of which are the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use, and the increasing authority (and acceptance) of individual states and provinces (in Canada) to decide for themselves what they wish to do with regards to sports betting, lotteries, and online casino.

Will Canadian Legislators Take A Leaf from their Southern Neighbor’s Playbook?

As a case in point, Covers.com ran a story about the recent Canadian elections, and how sports betting could become a national reality across the country. For any legislation to pass, it requires a majority of seats in this case 170 from 338 seats in the Canadian legislature. Amendments are needed from the federal parliament to pass sweeping sporting legislation for legal-age Canadian players.

It helps that Canada’s southern neighbor, the US overturned PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) provisions that banned sports betting in all areas except for those with a monopoly over them like Nevada and Delaware. SCOTUS decided that individual states have the right to determine for themselves whether they wish to allow sports betting.

Canadian lawmakers have taken heart from the US Supreme Court decision and sports betting could be making its way into the cultural zeitgeist of legal-age Canadian players in the near future. Much the same is true with respect to widespread access to online casino games; opening the market up to a myriad of possibilities in the near future.

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