Saskatchewan Tribal Leader Calls For Online Gambling In Province
The online gambling craze is sweeping across Canada at a rapid pace, but Saskatchewan has not yet caught on. That may soon change as the head of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations has called on the government to allow more of an online presence.
Chief Guy Lonechild is preparing a letter that will ask Saskatchewan government leaders to loosen their restrictions on Internet gambling. In addition, the letter will state the tribal position that they be allowed to operate online casinos in the province.
“Approximately $30 million is leaving the province because of other gambling sites that are offered by other provinces,” said Chief Lonechild.
Despite his assertion that online gambling could bring millions of dollars to the Saskatchewan government, authorities are not seriously considering regulating the industry at this time.
“Online gambling is not a top priority for the government right now,” said Gaming Minister Ken Cheveldayoff. “It’s something that we’ve agreed to look at best practices across the country. Eventually we’re going to have to make a decision on it but it’s not something that’s at the top of the agenda right now.”
Canadian provinces have followed in the shadows of the B.C. Lottery Corp., which launched their online site last year. After initially having to shut down the site for security breach reasons, the B.C. Lottery eventually worked out the problems and re-launched the online casino.
In other countries, online gambling has become a main source of government revenue. Licensing fees alone from online sites have been upwards of $25 million, with some paying $100 million or more. Online gambling has become a big business, and Chief Lonechild wants Saskatchewan to see some of the benefits of the booming industry.
Canada’s neighbors to the South, the US, has lawmakers working to rid the country of online gambling prohibition. Like in Canada, regulations in the US may come first at a state level, instead of a federal level. Several states including Florida, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, and Iowa, have had bills proposed so far in 2011.