Canada’s Criminal Code limits Ontario online poker players to only playing with each other on provincially-regulated sites, says the Ministry of the Attorney General.
Many players complain of a shortage of games because they’re not allowed to go up against residents of other jurisdictions, as was the case before the Ontario government established its igaming market.
Ministry spokesperson Brian Gray said many players were not aware that they were previously gaming on unregulated sites.
“The Ontario government has now established an online gaming market that will protect consumers, promote more responsible gaming and provide opportunities for businesses in the gaming sector,” Gray said Wednesday in an email. “The province has carefully designed the online gaming model to achieve that objective in compliance with the requirements of the Criminal Code as they have been interpreted to date.”
All gambling in Canada is illegal, with some exceptions such as provincially conducted and managed gaming, he said.
Private gaming operators are required to register with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and enter into an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario (iGO) to participate in the province’s online gaming market.
“Operators and suppliers in the new Ontario market must meet rigorous standards of gaming and operator integrity, fairness, player protections and social responsibility,” Gray said. “Robust measures to protect consumers in the new market will enable more responsible gaming, prevent underage access, and ensure compliance with applicable laws, including anti-money laundering rules and regulations.”
However, social media is peppered with complaints, including one person who noted there were less than 100 people playing on one poker website on July 1.
“Gotta do what everyone else did when they regulated online poker in Ontario… Move to Calgary! No online restrictions, and the best live events in the country!” another player tweeted on July [email protected]