So yesterday was an interesting day for me as a resident of Ontario and having been involved in the internet marketing side of online gambling for the past 10 years via clients who operate in the offshore space.
The Province of Ontario and specifically "Premier Dad" or Dalton McGuinty announced that online wagering on Casino, Poker and Sports (via ProLine) will be offered in 2012. Now beyond the fact that I'm 100% sure that the OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming - the overseer of all things gambling in Ontario) will royally screw up the implementation of any online gaming site there is the higher level issues I have with Dalton McGuinty.
Specifically in Ontario:
- We're not allowed to host Mixed Martial Arts events - meaning they can't be held in the province. Ed. Note: Yeah I know. *sigh*.
- If you're under 22 you can't have a drop of alcohol in your system if you're driving a vehicle. Ed Note: I'm all for this actually let's just make this simple and make it zero tolerance for everyone.
- Cigarettes cannot be on display in any convenience store. They have to be covered in these massive grey cabinets, see teenagers are dumb, they even even cover their eyes and when they do they think they disappear.
In Ontario under the McGuinty government we're coddled and treated like morons. I say this as a pretty consistent supporter of the Liberal party - although I would say I'm a fiscal conservative (ie don't waste massive amounts of money) and social liberal (ie universal education for all, public support for the most vulnerable in the community).
Also keep in mind this Ontario Liberal government is scandal plagued. Here are few notable examples:
eHealth Scandal - the Ontario government hired a completely under-qualified Sara Kraemer to digitize all public health records in the province. It's a daunting task and as I predicated when the project was started they screwed it up royally. Not only has nothing been accomplished but there was also a nice contractor scandal to go alongside with it.
OLG Expense Scandal - In Late August 2009 the entire OLG board resigned over inappropriate expenses. Now we're not talking about a cup of coffee, these were ongoing an high ticket price expenses from corporate douche bags that made 6 and 7 figure incomes. Some examples include:
- gym memberships worth $250
- Weight Watchers memberships
- club link golf fees
- a $1,500 bar tab at a $3,700 dinner for 38 people
- a $500 nanny fee so that a vice-president member could attend meetings, an amount since repaid
OLG Insider Lottery Wins - yeah you heard me right. If you're from Ontario you know about this scandal but if not then you might need a bit of background. It comes down to people who were selling tickets were claiming their own winning tickets to the tune of $198 Million over a 13 year period. Scandals will hapen, I can imagine that retailers get greedy as they only get a small percentage of sales. But 13 years!?
This basically tells me the OLG is either incompetent and filled with highly paid, bureaucratic, do nothing greedy corporate douche bags or their just as greedy and corrupt as the insiders performing the fraud. Maybe a little from column A and a little from column B.
Learn more about the OLG Insider Lottery Scandal (via CBC News).
Ok, so you might be wondering what my point is here. I'm not simply ranting about the incompetence of my Provincial government or the scandal plagued OLG (or my personal opinion of the agency which as you can tell isn't very high).
I'm saying that:
- Legalized and regulated online gaming makes sense - simply put prohibition doesn't work. It's been proven over and over again.
- Government run gaming agencies should not be the sole provider of gaming services. It should be a regulated and licensing process to let actual competent organizations run profitable and fair e-gaming websites.
- A government monopoly on the egaming space is going to be rife with:
- Really really bad sports betting lines. This is in the house's favor (obviously) but the lines on ProLine are simply so far out of whack with any other competing lines it's ridiculous. Wanna lose parlays and be offered bad lines? Play ProLine.
- Poor customer service and not a clue from an operational side what makes an online casino thrive. Frankly they can contract it to a private sector company here in Ontario and they will not know what they're doing either. They simply haven't operated in the space.
- Online Poker will suffer from a lack of volume (always a problem in the poker space for upstart sites) unless they plug into another network like Cake but they won't and they can't since these operators are currently violating UIEGA and I don't think that is politically correct.
- Poor security - yeah yeah you're gonna secure it. So was the BCLC with their PlayNow online gaming site.
- Create a licensing system and let third parties operate legally in Ontario. Let's not make this yet another LCBO scenario, but who am I kidding I've lived here all my life and I'm predicting it'll never change. This will ensure a legitimate group of operators who will then provide tax revenue to each of the provinces offering their services in that locale.
So for these reasons I wouldn't say that this is a huge revelation or earth shattering event plus any additional revenue garnered by the Ontario government will blown in absolutely ridiculous and ludicrous scandals and programs (all day Kindergarten anyone?)
Stay tuned. I'll definitely be updating this post with any new (and stupid) revelations in the Whacky Wild Dalton McGuinty Gambling Extravaganza!
Update August 12,2010: Looks like the Alberta Government is also seriously considering online gambling offerings. (via The Edmonton Journal)