Canada Crackdown on Online Gaming Looms on the Horizon
The recently delivered Federal budget by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty contains a promise to introduce legislative amendments to “strengthen Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime.” The Conservative government also plans to make online casinos subject to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCTFA).
Under Canadian gambling law, casinos must comply with strict recordkeeping policies, including alerting authoritative regulators to any suspicious persons or transactions within the casino. The Tory government wants to make online casinos subject to the same record keeping, identification verification and suspicious transaction reporting requirements as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. It will also regulate virtual currencies such a Bitcoin, a currency that has been under global spotlight recently. Also expected to come under scrutiny will be player-to-player fund transfers, an immensely popular feature on many of the larger online poker sites that allows players to transfer thousands of dollars to and from other poker players worldwide.
Several online gambling companies and payment service providers based overseas have in the past couple of years elected to pull out of the Canadian market.
Pressure is mounting from the provincial lottery corporations who have introduced provincially regulated online gambling to Canadians but who continue to face difficult competition from established overseas gaming operators.
It is still now clear how the changes will be implemented towards overseas operators but international online gambling firms could soon be part of a government crackdown.