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Poker News

Manitoba to Offer Online Gambling

Written By: PokerNet.com | April 9, 2012 | Posted In Poker News

The Manitoba government within Canada is set place it’s hand in the cookie jar and partake in the spoils of benefits and changes towards online gambling, including online poker, which has been amidst controversy over the past few months.

The province has set forth plans to have its own online casino, offering casino games, online poker as well as other entertainment. It is looking to have this service up and running by the commencement of 2013 and operating within the early moments of the year.

Lotteries Minister Steve Ashton stated on Thursday that this effort is not an attempt to make gambling more wide spread and available but rather to localise the impact that it has and to prevent the growing industry from spreading too far out of reach.

“There are 2,000 sites currently (and) an estimated $37 million that goes into online gaming, much of it which goes out of the province,” Ashton said. “We view (the new site) as a way of keeping that in the province.”

The online site is set to run alongside the British Columbia government’s own version, which had opened up its online casinos in 2010.

Around 5% of the net revenues will be used to fund gambling addiction programs and help push a positive move towards sensible gambling. Ashton stated that this amount of contribution is an increase from the average two percent from traditional gambling venues.

Predictions place revenue at $1.5 million in the first year and a progressive increase to $17 million by the year 2018.

Ashton also stated that the introduction of a government run online poker site would result in a safe and regulated alternative to deceptive off shore websites.

“In the case of these sites, you can’t really know who’s behind them,” he said.

Ontario and Quebec are also in the process of setting up their own online gambling sites and to take a slice of the action that Manitoba is keen to be a part of.

A professional researcher in the area of online gambling says that it will only lead to more addiction due to the increased availability of gambling outlets.

“Online gambling sort of maxes out the availability because it’s there all the time, all day, from the comfort of your own living room,” said Nigel Turner, a psychologist who specializes in problem gambling at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto.

However, he states that online gambling has less addictive tendencies and is safer than the latter.

“People who are (problem) gambling are often gambling because they want to escape … and that means going out, so the casino environment tends to pander to that.”

“You hear about everybody’s win, you hear the ka-ching, ka-ching of all the wins and the bells and whistles and so on, so I think it’s a much more enveloping experience.”

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

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