Bill 74 is making some online gamblers in Canada nervous, especially those in Quebec. Here are our thoughts on the newest internet controversy.
Bill 74 has seen little news coverage, but it can be a very significant thing for online gambling in Canada. While right now the Bill will only affects those in Quebec, it could very easily set a trend that could trickle into the other provinces, and could even see it’s way into the federal government. It’s yet another disregard for the net neutrality that citizens are very vocal about being for. If you thought we were past this debate, you’re not alone, but it seems to still be an issue.
The unprecedented Bill dictates that internet providers must block online gambling websites that are not approved by the government. The motivation stems from the idea that these websites do not follow the same guidelines, regulations, and oversights that the Canadian government has put in place to protect its citizens, but the opposition thinks it is a violation of freedom. As we’ve said at this site time and time again, the best online casinos are easy to spot, and they have the oversight, regulations, guidelines, and policies that ensure player safety and confidence. We’re all for measures being put in place to ensure that a casino needs to have jurisdiction in Canada to offer its lobby of games, and if it complies with jurisdiction, it should be available. It should be that simple.
Another point that has been made is that blocking online gambling sites that do not benefit the government is a way for them to cut out the competition and see more profits for themselves. They say it’s to protect citizens from casinos that they don’t personally regulate, but it’s tough not to be suspicious of the fact that they will benefit financially to a profound extent if the Bill stands. Furthermore, Canada hasn’t always had legal gambling, and it was often subjected to Native Territories. In fact, many Native Territories license online casino operators with virtual lobbies available to online Canadian players today.
If the Bill stands, it is going to be very complicated for internet service providers as well. If online gambling is federally legal, but illegal in Quebec, what is the proper legislation to follow? Is the Bill even really enforceable? Is this a matter of free will? Why were consensual crimes, like gambling, illegal in the first place? The debates have been coming in steadily, and with the government saying that gambling is a public health issue, online gamblers are understandably miffed, and have reason to be concerned.
This will almost assuredly be challenged in court, and it’s pretty clear that it’s a violation of several freedoms, not the least of which is the idea to have a completely open and free internet. Consider the slippery slope this could cause. First it’s online casino, and then what’s next?
Right now the only sites, from as far as we can gather, that are blocked in Canada are child pornography websites. Whoever doesn’t agree with that is pretty sick, and if you don’t agree that they should be blocked, I seriously doubt you’re going to be vocal about it. But wait, if child pornography is the only other type of site that’s blocked, does that mean they’re putting online gambling in that category? That’s not just offensive, it’s downright egregious.
Right now, I wouldn’t be too concerned. The internet providers will fight it, internet law experts will fight it, fellow gamblers will fight it, and governments in other provinces haven’t said peep about following suit. And let’s be honest here, in most states in the US, online gambling is illegal. Guess what? You can still online gamble, and you can receive and cash in your winnings without anyone lifting an eyebrow unless you don’t pay taxes.
Placing bets should be a right, and no matter what kind of Bills are passed, we’ll be here pointing Canadian bettors toward the best places to place bets online. That’s a promise.
Written for Online-Casino.ca by Paul Lucas - Published on 2016-04-22