|A ruling last Thursday from Prince Edward Islandís (PEI) top court bars the province from operating an online lottery, a decision which will only serve to increase the opaque legal status of online gaming in Canada. |
As often seems to be the case, the main opposition to the lottery Ė to be run on behalf of Earth Fund, an environmental charity Ė has come from the competition. An action filed in the province of Ontario, Canada by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation claimed that the Internet-based Earth Future Lottery would violate the Criminal Code. This caused PEIís government to ask the court for a ruling on whether the Earth Fundís lottery license is legal.
Had the decision gone the other way, it would have been an important victory for the online gambling industry in Canada, but now the situation remains whereby Canadians can legally spend money in Web casinos and sports books, but only if they are from outside the country. Operating Internet gambling sites is illegal in Canada.
The ruling ignores the fact that Canadians have access to hundreds of offshore gaming sites on the Internet, regardless of whether any provincial government gets into the business, said Marshall Pollock, a consultant who oversaw the lottery proposal.