ALC’s New Brunswick Online Casino Coming to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island?
The Atlantic Lottery Corp (ALC) is the appointed provincial gaming regulator for all of Canada east coast, serving New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. For nearly a decade decade, ALC relentlessly debated the need for greater online gambling regulation. Online lottery sales are all fine and good, but the regulator says it’s online casino games that are attracting Atlantic Canadian residents to wager with offshore websites.
It wasn’t until the unforeseeable lockdown of 2020 that things really began to spiral out of control. International online casinos boomed as individuals sought more means of home-bound entertainment. That’s when ALC officials decided to quietly launch its first provincial online casino, available only in New Brunswick. Following that soft launch in August, ALC now hopes to launch a Nova Scotia and PEI gambling site.
New Brunswick Online Casino Coming to NS, PEI?
The ALC revealed this week plans to expand its online casino reach to Nova Scotia and PEI. Adults physically located in those provinces be able to access the website and play real money casino games, just as residents of New Brunswick have since August.
ALC Chief Executive Chris Keevil defended the lottery corporation’s unspoken launch of the online casino and intent to expand. In the last year, “Offshore operators who are marketing to Atlantic Canadians really picked up steam,” he said. “We don’t think that they operate with the best interests and safety of Atlantic Canadians in mind.”
The ALC predicts an estimated $100 million is being siphoned from Atlantic provinces to overseas gambling websites every year. However, when Keevil was asked how the lottery regulator came up with that figure, he had no definitive answer. All he would say is that it’s “very difficult to track.”
But that’s only an underlying issue. The answer Atlantic Canada’s provincial governments, who have long opposed online casino gaming, really want is to the question of why the ALC’s gambling site permits such high betting limits.
Atlantic Canada Online Casino Accepting 40x Higher Wagers
The ALC’s online casinos, currently accessible only to player located in New Brunswick, allows bets of up to $500 per hand on table games, and $100 per spin of the slots reel. These limits are, in some cases, 40x higher than what residents are allowed to bet on a single pull of a VLT game at the province’s land-based gaming halls.
Again, Keevil defends the regulators decision, saying they are only trying to compete with international casino sites that “have in many cases no limits at all.”
ALC iGaming Plan Facing Opposition from All Angles
Opposition to expanding the New Brunswick online casino is pouring forth from all sides. Some are posing concerns over gambling harm and addiction, for fear the province’s promotion of it will “normalize” the activity. Nova Scotia’s regulators are questioning the responsibility of the iGaming portal.
Some officials in PEI are more acquiesce to the situation, but not everyone is on board. The cabinet agreed to the ALC iGaming launch back in December, but some leaders say public consultation must come first.