The Manitoba government has launched an online gambling site and has also promised to open a small casino in a downtown shopping centre.
The move has led to Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard saying that more gambling facilities, especially placed near downtown public-housing apartments, will lead to more crime and poverty. “This may actually be an attempt to get money from people who are very poor and to cause more social problems rather than to address the very real social problems that are there.”
The site is a Manitoba branch of Playnow.com, operated by British Columbia’s lottery agency. The site offers virtual poker and roulette as well as online slot machines.
Manitoba Lotteries said that the site is aiming to capture a share of the market audience which are already playing elsewhere.
Lotteries spokesperson, Susan Olynik, said that “There are about 2,000 unregulated sites that are available to Manitobans with no assurance of game integrity, responsible gaming features (and) personal information security.”
As for the downtown gambling centre, Olynik says it is not a casino but will feature 140 video lottery terminals and two poker and four blackjack tables.