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Kahnawake challenging Ontario on iGaming

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The passage of Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, and the subsequent amendments to the Criminal Code have paved the way for provinces and territories in Canada to offer single-event sports betting within their jurisdictions.

Provinces such as Ontario have wasted no time in seizing this opportunity, not only by introducing single-event sports betting through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, but also by allowing private third-party operators to participate in the market. These operators are now able to offer single-event sports betting to the public under a licensing system managed by iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (“MCK”) has raised concerns and is challenging the newly established multi-billion-dollar regime of single-event sports betting in Ontario.

On November 28, 2022, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (“MCK”) initiated a constitutional challenge against iGaming Ontario and the Attorney General of Ontario in response to the provincial government’s unilateral changes to gaming management. MCK alleges that these changes are illegal and unconstitutional, specifically contesting Ontario’s re-interpretation of Section 207(1) of the Criminal Code, which grants provinces the authority to regulate single-event sports betting.

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MCK’s legal challenge argues that iGaming Ontario is not truly “conducting or managing” the gaming that occurs on private operators’ platforms. Instead, iGaming Ontario is merely allowing operators to self-conduct and self-manage, while requiring them to pay a portion of their revenues to Ontario.

MCK has a long-standing history of effectively facilitating, conducting, and safely regulating gaming activities on behalf of the Mohawks of Kahnawake. The council argues that this new regime disregards their expertise in the gaming sector and is likely to result in significant revenue losses for the community of Kahnawake.

The Notice of Application has been filed in the Ontario Superior Court, with representation by Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP on behalf of MCK.

MCK had vehemently opposed Bill C-218, the legislation that ultimately changed the landscape of iGaming and sports betting, adversely affecting Indigenous Peoples. The bill became law in June 2021, paving the way for Ontario to reinterpret the management of the gaming sector.

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Consequently, in April 2022, iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, launched its iGaming Framework, which included single-event sports wagering and relied solely on private operators.

MCK is deeply concerned that this Framework disregards the expertise and rights of First Nations to operate and regulate gaming in a safe and responsible manner. For the past 25 years, the Kahnawà:ke Gaming Commission has been providing players with access to safe, well-regulated, and responsible gaming. Although MCK had previously operated in Ontario through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mohawk Online Limited, it has chosen not to submit to this new framework.

As a result, MCK is now being excluded from the Ontario market due to its refusal to participate in the iGaming framework.

“The harsh reality is that Ontario’s actions are causing a significant loss of crucial revenues for our community,” expresses Ratsenhaienhs (elected Council Chief) Mike Delisle, Jr. “We had been operating legally, safely, and successfully across Canada until these actions were taken. Being shut out of Ontario, which is the largest province in Canada, will have devastating effects on an income source that has supported programs and services in our community for the past two decades.”

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The decision to challenge the legality of Ontario’s iGaming framework in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was a last resort, as MCK’s attempts to engage in dialogue with government officials have been disregarded.

What implications does this legal challenge by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke have for internet gaming operators?

This legal challenge by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke may have implications for private third-party operators in the betting industry and the sports sector. Additionally, it could potentially impact other seemingly unrelated areas, such as capital markets.

In the past, Canadian stock exchanges have been cautious about listing companies with operations related to cannabis in the US due to federal prohibition. It remains to be seen whether similar concerns may arise regarding the listing of private third-party operators, whether licensed by Mohawk Internet Technologies or not, based on this challenge.

We continue to monitor developments related to the challenge and their potential impact on the online and betting industry as a whole.

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Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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Legislation

Unveiling North Carolina’s Thriving Sports Betting Frontier

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North Carolina Sports Betting: Latest Updates, Opportunities, and Market Outlook

Embark on a journey into the heart of North Carolina’s dynamic sports betting realm, where excitement mounts as the state prepares for its highly anticipated online wagering debut. Against a backdrop of regulatory milestones and strategic partnerships, Gamingo News delves into the latest developments shaping the landscape, offering insights into the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for stakeholders in this burgeoning market.

Anticipating Launch: Unveiling the Go-Live Date

Momentum Builds With the countdown to online sports betting in North Carolina underway, anticipation reaches fever pitch as the North Carolina State Lottery Commission sets the stage for a momentous milestone. Marking 11th March as the go-live date, players eagerly await the opportunity to engage in exhilarating wagering experiences from the comfort of their homes. However, the excitement doesn’t end there, as prospective bettors can initiate account registrations and fund their accounts starting from 1st March, setting the stage for a seamless transition into the realm of online sports betting.

Regulatory Framework: A Pivotal Pathway

Legislative Foundations The journey towards legalized sports betting in North Carolina traces back to the enactment of House Bill 347, a seminal piece of legislation signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper on 14th June. Embedded within the bill is a meticulously crafted timeline, delineating the roadmap for implementation and regulatory compliance. Mandated deadlines underscore the state’s commitment to fostering a robust and transparent regulatory framework, ensuring the integrity and accountability of the burgeoning sports betting market.

Navigating Regulatory Updates: Insights from the Commission

A Closer Look Recent developments unfold as the North Carolina State Lottery Commission takes center stage, issuing pivotal updates that shed light on the evolving sports betting landscape. With a deadline of 26th January for operator submissions of internal controls, speculation abounds as stakeholders await the Commission’s verdict. This week brings a wave of anticipation as the Commission issues two full sports wagering supplier licenses, alongside seven provisional licenses, signaling a flurry of activity as the market gears up for the much-anticipated launch.

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Promoting Responsible Gaming: The Role of Self-Exclusion Programs

Safeguarding Player Welfare Amidst the fervor surrounding the impending launch, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission takes proactive strides towards promoting responsible gaming practices. Approval of a voluntary self-exclusion program underscores the state’s commitment to mitigating gambling-related harm and fostering a safe and supportive gaming environment. Empowering players with the option to self-exclude for varying durations, the program serves as a vital resource for individuals seeking to exercise greater control over their gambling habits, reinforcing the principles of accountability and player welfare.

Operator Partnerships: Forging Pathways to Success

Strategic Alliances Against a backdrop of regulatory rigor, operators vie for market entry, solidifying strategic alliances to carve out their niche in the burgeoning North Carolina sports betting landscape. From industry stalwarts like Caesars Entertainment, bolstered by key partnerships with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, to emerging players such as DraftKings and BetMGM, a diverse array of operators converge to capitalize on the state’s burgeoning market potential. With the Commission working in tandem with eight operators to expedite licensing procedures, the stage is set for a transformative debut come 11th March.

Embracing the Future: Towards a Thriving Sports Betting Ecosystem

Charting New Horizons As the countdown to go-live date intensifies, North Carolina stands poised to usher in a new era of sports betting innovation and accessibility. With regulatory frameworks firmly in place and strategic partnerships abound, stakeholders stand at the cusp of a transformative journey, brimming with opportunities for growth and innovation. With 11th March marking a watershed moment in the state’s gambling landscape, the stage is set for North Carolina to emerge as a beacon of excellence in the realm of online sports betting, setting new benchmarks for industry standards and player engagement.

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