Online gamblers in Canada are reporting a resurgence of last year's "no Canadian punters" emails from a top online gambling company this week, although detail on the real legality of such exclusions has not been disclosed.
The email sent to a number of Canadians by the Paddy Power online casino group reads:
"It has come to our attention that you are using a Canadian bank card. In accordance with Canadian law we will now be unable to take bets from Canada. Due to this, we will unfortunately have to block your debit/credit card and in turn close your account. You will still be able to withdraw any outstanding funds from your account for the next seven days. Please contact our support team if you require any assistance.
"From 12pm GMT (Monday 14th February 2011), we will no longer be able to accept payments from Canadian sources."
Paddy Power were still taking bets from Canadians earlier yesterday (Monday) and the new conditions apparently came with no warning, and the email is clearly not specific on which 'Canadian Law' the exclusion is based upon.
There are no laws specifically banning online gambling, or online gambling transactions, in Canada.
What has happened (and this may be the motivation for Paddy Power's caution) is that provincial governments in British Columbia and Quebec (and soon Ontario) have exercised their right to regulate internet gambling by province and have started their own online gambling sites, run by the respective provincial lottery companies.
As far back as mid-2010 some online gambling companies started warning players that they may be pulling out of the Canadian market, presumably anticipating new laws.
The list included several Boss Media-powered companies, causing speculation that pressure may be coming from Boss Media, which is working with at least one provincial authority. However, in some cases players were assured that they could still play no-download games. Boss Media did not respond to enquiries at the time.
In the case of the Casino Club group, Canadian players were told back then: "We regret to inform you that due to the new regulations of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Loto-Québec and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, online gaming products in Canada are prohibited. Unfortunately we are required to add Canada to our list of excluded countries. Players from Canada will no longer be permitted to play at Casino Club starting September 24th, 2010."
No such laws have come to light, however and the matter remains clouded by uncertainty.
Paddy Power's ban on Canadians has been included in its terms and conditions, which flag Canada as a "prohibited jurisdiction".
Source: InfoPowa News