Recent Amendments to Canadian Law Have Been Introduced With the Intention of Regulating Online Casinos

Amie Balot
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Land-based casinos all over the world have been confronted with the challenging decision of how to regulate smoking within their establishments in recent years, as smoking has become an increasingly unpopular activity in recent decades.

The image of a casino that most people have in their heads is that of a smoke-filled room with low ceilings and ashtrays placed at each table. Modern casinos are built with a significant amount of architectural and technological progress incorporated into their design. This allows both smokers and non-smokers to gamble in the same establishment without being inconvenienced by secondhand smoke.

The most up-to-date casino designs incorporate higher ceilings as well as more sophisticated air filtering systems to ensure that the atmosphere is always pleasant and completely smoke-free. Poker rooms are almost always designated as smoke-free areas within casinos, making them one of the most common smoke-free areas in gambling establishments.

As a result of state and national laws that prohibit smoking in public places, other casinos are realizing that they have no choice but to completely ban smoking within their establishments. Even though there isn’t much evidence to support their claim, these casinos insist that they are at a disadvantage when compared to their competitors.

Customers from states that allow smoking and states that do not allow smoking are given the option to make their own choices in online casinos, which are the only type of casinos that are unaffected by the ongoing debate regarding smoking. Players have the option of playing from the convenience of their own homes, regardless of whether or not the gaming establishments in their local communities permit smoking. The advent of online gaming has made this practicable.

The government of Canada made changes to its anti-money laundering law in February of this year, to enforce those changes against Canadian online casinos that hold valid licenses. Because Canada has frequently fallen behind the rest of the world in terms of laws governing the laundering of money through activities conducted online, the government felt compelled to make these changes. The government of Canada concluded that it was time to “move with the times” regarding the regulations that govern online casinos. Online casinos are subject to a great deal of scrutiny from the government in many countries, including the United Kingdom.

The most important modifications to the law are summarized in the following order:

  • Specific information regarding any accounts that were engaged in commercial activity and made use of virtual currencies in the completion of their transactions

  • The government thinks that those who launder money ought to use these alternative forms of currency to make their money appear to be more lawful.

  • Access to information on any businesses or private entities that transact using virtual currencies.

  • When this law goes into effect, it will apply to companies and organizations that conduct business in Canada or that provide the vast majority of their services to residents of that country.

  • The government and online casinos should be free to share any and allany information without any restrictions.

  • The only requirement for individuals working within the Ministry of Finance to gain access to this information is to submit a request for it; warrants are not necessary.

  • Since online casinos are never the focus of these investigations, their full cooperation is both encouraged and expected regardless of whether or not they are the subject of the investigation.

  • The government has an interest in compiling data on the individuals who conduct business with these casinos in terms of their financial dealings.

  • The level of scrutiny that is applied to a transaction depends on whether or not one of the parties to the transaction is a citizen or entity of Canada and the other party is a citizen or entity of another country.

  • It is believed that these kinds of transactions, particularly those involving virtual currencies, present the greatest potential for being utilized in connection with either the laundering of illicit funds or the funding of terrorist organizations.

The Amendments Might Have the Following Consequences

These alterations are being made to bring the standard of play at online casinos closer to that of their land-based equivalents.

There is no reason why an online casino couldn’t report any suspicious transactions to the government if they wanted to, and a traditional land-based casino would be expected to do the same thing. There is no reason why an online casino couldn’t report any suspicious transactions to the government if they wanted to.

The government thinks that these businesses will be able to generate significant revenue if they continue to conduct their operations within Canada or if they restrict their customer base to Canadians only. They are required to “give something back” and live up to their fair share of responsibilities if they are to make a profit through Canada.

The business of an online casino should not suffer as a result of these amendments as long as the casino can successfully report the information requested by the government.