OLG offers a peek at its online gambling site
Loto-QuebecÕs online gambling portal, launched the week of Nov. 30, 2010, offers poker, blackjack, Monopoly and other games. (Loto-Quebec)
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) on Friday offered the public the first glimpse of its online gaming site which will go live across the province in the new year.
Gamblers will have to register and set a weekly deposit limit of up to $9,999.
“People are going to gamble — we know that,” said Paul Pellizzari, OLG’s director of policy and social responsibility. “The grey market has been around for a long time. What we’ve learned about how to protect people is a huge benefit to the creation of this site.”
With its traditional casinos struggling to maintain revenues, the provincial gaming agency embarked on a modernization plan that sought to capture the estimated $400 million-$500 million that now goes to offshore online poker sites.
Government officials have projected that Ontario’s treasury will take in about $375 million in profit over the first five years.
OLG refuses to reveal how much it expects the site to make in gaming revenue, or what the cut will be allotted to a private sector partner that operates the PlayOLG site.
John Wisternoff, vice president of gaming at OLG, said Friday that the information was deemed commercially sensitive.
The site will offer lottery tickets for sale to those 18 or older, which is expected to bring in up to $40 million in the first year. Gamblers will have to be at least 19 years old to play to online games.
Five hundred loyal OLG customers were invited to try PlayOLG Thursday, with 84 people acting on the offer.
Players are required to deposit money to the site using a credit card.
The average deposit by those trying out PlayOLG was $74 which is just under the average at similar sites in other provinces with online gaming, the OLG officials said.
PlayOLG is designed to attract “moderate” players who make average deposits of $70 to $75, Pellizzari said.
Players can lower their weekly gaming limit at any time, but an increase takes seven calendar days to take effect.
“There’s a cooling off period,” Pellizzari said.
The site comes with password protection and identity verification, as well.
Gamblers are offered the opportunity to self-exclude online without impacting their ability to enter land-based casinos.
Players can also voluntarily indicate to the site that they’re taking a “break” for one day to three months, or take an online assessment tool related to gambling addiction risk.
Only the identification and weekly limits are mandatory.
Other jurisdictions that tried to set too many limits failed, the officials say.
“We picked our spot with the deposit limit and it’s the most important one from a behavioural perspective,” Pellizzari said.
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