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Ontario Official Says Province Should Join Online Casino Wave

The new head of the Ontario lottery wants to consider online casino games to protect and increase revenue.

The newly appointed head of the Ontario lottery says his province should consider online casino games as a way to keep revenue at home and away from other lotteries now operating Internet gambling sites. Paul Godfrey, chairman of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, announced at a press conference last week that he would like to visit the opportunity presented by online gambling.

The comments come as rumors run rampant that Ontario will look to privatize its lottery operations. Five new board members all come from strong business backgrounds, leading lawmakers to notice the aptitude the board would have for a sale to private operators.

A series of questionable expense reports and untendered contracts by the Ontario lottery led to the firing of CEO Kelly McDougald last fall, as well as creating a political firestorm for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Godfrey said adding online gambling to the gaming run by the lottery only makes sense, to counter moves in Nova Scotia, Quebec, and British Columbia which include beginning Internet gaming operations. He also repeated marks by Quebec's lottery officials, saying online casinos already do business in the province, without regulation.

"Money is going out of this province to other provinces as well as offshore sites," said Godfrey.

Godfrey promised the board would begin searching nest week for a new CEO to head operations.

Published on February 22, 2010 by K.C.Carmichael

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