Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Province bets on online gambling site

Tory leader warns of dangers

  • Print

Manitobans who want to try their luck at poker, blackjack or roulette online can now do so on a provincially regulated site.

Just before noon Wednesday, the Manitoba Lotteries Corp. launched its PlayNow.com site in conjunction with the British Columbia Lottery Corp. (BCLC).

The site includes a wide range of games, including live and video poker and slots, as well as live sports betting.

Lotteries executives and the Selinger government billed the new diversion as a safe and reputable online gambling option, while the Opposition Conservatives expressed concern about the social costs of the government's increased reliance on gambling revenues.

Manitobans wishing to gamble will be required to register and have a credit card handy. PlayNow.com was created by the BCLC in 2004. Manitoba is piggybacking on its platform.

The site offers features to protect gamblers against themselves. For instance, they can voluntarily set spending limits on a particular game. When those limits are reached, gamers are cut off. There is also a weekly deposit limit of $9,999 -- essentially the maximum someone can lose in that period.

Proponents say a regulated environment ensures games are fair and winners get paid. They note Manitobans already spend a considerable amount of money on online gambling -- an estimated $37 million in 2011 alone.

"We know that Manitobans are already playing online on grey market (unregulated) sites. What we're hoping to do is have those people play our site because of the fact that we are regulated and legal," said Susan Olynik, vice-president of corporate communications and social responsibility with Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries.

Manitoba is expected to reap $1.5 million in revenue from PlayNow.com in the first operating year. That's expected to grow to $17 million a year by 2018.

Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister said he's troubled by government's increased reliance on gambling and would like to see a public dialogue on the issue.

Pallister is not impressed with the argument that Manitobans are already gambling online, so the government might as well regulate it and profit from it. "The question is not just how much money does the government get from gambling revenues, surely. The question is how much does it cost society in general," he said.

Marion Cooper, of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, said she's pleased the website promotes responsible gambling. But she noted that for the one to three per cent of Manitobans with a gambling problem, there's now one more place to turn. "That segment of our population is the segment that we're concerned about when there's an increased access," she said.

Steve Ashton, Manitoba minister responsible for lotteries, said the BCLC has developed a "very strong security-based system" to prevent underage gambling.

Ashton also said it made sense for Manitoba to partner with an established provincial player rather than develop its own site. "It's also a good business arrangement for Manitoba. We're not paying for upfront capital costs," he said.

Manitoba Lotteries invests two per cent of its net income in problem gambling prevention. An additional three per cent of the net income from PlayNow.com will go to the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

 

Website promotes responsibility

Manitoba Lotteries says PlayNow.com has several features to help gamblers play responsibly, including:

Mandatory player registration;

A process to prevent access by underage players;

Real-time display of time and cash spent;

Ability to pre-set spending limits on a particular game;

A weekly deposit limit of $9,999

Information and tips on responsible play;

Information and links to problem gambling support;

Play history reports to monitor spending;

A voluntary self-exclusion program.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2013 A4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jets defencemen ready to face adversity

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Horses enjoy a beautiful September morning east of Neepawa, Manitoba  - Standup Photo– Sept 04, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

With the Canadian junior team off to such a great start, will you be watching the World junior hockey championship?

View Results

Ads by Google