Online Gambling’s Legality in New Brunswick
Like many other provinces in Canada, online gambling in New Brunswick is legal but remains a relatively untapped market. Residents can gamble at the site of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) — a joint online gambling outlet shared by residents of the four Atlantic provinces: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick.
The ALC regulates all gambling activities in these four provinces. At its site, casino players in New Brunswick can access an array of online slots, table games such as roulette and blackjack, bingo titles, and a selection of sports betting markets. However, in recent years, the ALC has lobbied for changes in legislation, imploring local governments to open up the industry to private third-party operators in order to capitalize on profits being spent at sites in other gambling jurisdictions.
The provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Quebec each have their own recognized gambling sites, approved and regulated by their respective provincial governments. The ALC wants this option granted to residents in its four member states, increasing revenue opportunities within its borders and generating income to invest in Atlantic Canadians. Some provinces want amendments made to legislation, calling for offshore sites around the world to be officially introduced into Canadian online gambling markets.
‘The Grey Zone’
Canada’s online gambling laws are unusual. Although officially considered illegal to those not using a province-run site, online gambling in Canada is permitted at offshore sites. These offshore casinos aren’t regulated in Canada, but since they have no physical presence in the country, they cannot be charged with illegal gambling activities.
Only one online casino has ever been convicted of offering its services to Canadian gamblers. In 2001, British Columbia successfully prosecuted a gambling company called Starnet Communications International for having an office based in Vancouver, thus violating Canadian gambling laws.
This area of uncertainty — where online gamblers are allowed to access online casinos regulated in foreign jurisdictions, despite legislation technically forbidding it — has become known as the grey zone.
Offshore sites hold regulatory licences from other respected gambling authorities, such as the UK Gambling Commission and Malta Gaming Authority, but aren’t licensed to operate in Canada. But the grey zone is a legal loophole, and until it’s closed, Canadian gamblers are legally allowed to continue using these sites — which offer more variety in services than Canadian state-run casinos — and provinces will continue to miss out on revenue opportunities.