|Canadian online gamblers now have a new fraud watchdog, with the organization claiming to have found problems with almost half the web sites it has reviewed, according to Tom Blackwell of the National Post.|
Robin Chahal, founder of Online Gambling Authority, says that problems include casinos claiming to be based in places where gambling is legal, but actually operating from Canada, where it is illegal.
'I'm tired of seeing friends and others being ripped off when there are reputable places to pursue a gambling hobby,' said Mr. Chahal, adding: 'We're very much appalled by the number of sites that simply provide no background information about themselves on the Web site. You go to the site and they don't say who they are, where they are.'
The company has begun auditing 1,500 sites and is posting the results on its own web page.
The Gambling Authority says it has surveyed the credentials of 300 sites so far, finding that almost half appear to be operating without any kind of licence. More than 8% made false claims about having a licence, the company found.
18 sites surveyed are based in Canada, despite the Criminal Code banning gaming operations that aren't run or licensed by a provincial government – and the provinces have yet to authorize any Internet gambling. Despite this, a recent study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that more than 5% of Ontario adults had gambled online in the previous year.
Most of the Canadian sites are based on the Kahnawake Mohawk First Nation near Montreal, which argues it has jurisdiction to host on-line casinos and has strict rules on casino fairness.
Two others were based elsewhere in Canada. One owned by a Panamanian-based firm claimed to be licensed by the Canadian government, said Mr. Chahal.