Day At The Track


11:34 PM 20 Jan 2004 NZDT
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Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) became the first to offer legal Internet gambling in Canada last week when it launched

This was as a result of regulatory changes made by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency last year allowing Internet wagers on horse racing.

However, while WEG may be the first, they are certainly not going to be the only game in town.

According to a story in the National Post, not to mention common sense, other gambling sites are expected to surface.

The question the Post story asks is now that it is legal to bet on horse races online, can government-run Internet casinos be far behind?

"The entire gambling and gaming industry in Canada is government run or quasi-government run," said David Canton, a technology lawyer in London, ON, in the report.

According to Canton the next logical step would be government web casinos.

Bob McCreavy, a CPMA spokesperson, said that he has heard of at least two other tracks in Canada that have plans to offer online wagering services.

WEG hopes to process $15-million worth of online bets through its system this year. It reportedly takes in $1.5 billion in wagers annually and has annual sales of $390 million.

David Willmot, WEG Chairman and CEO, said in the report that he expects his company will eventually handle all Internet-based horse racing wagers in Canada since many tracks in this country already contract telephone account wagers to WEG.

Canton cautioned that governments are unlikely to approve widespread Internet gambling in the near future considering a number of law enforcement, tax collection and other regulatory issues make the logistics of web gambling hard to monitor.

Courtesy Of Standardbred Canada

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