The legislative framework that allows legal online gambling in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, is under threat as the Mohawk Council of Kahnawàke has launched a constitutional challenge against it.
iGaming Ontario, the government agency that is in charge of regulating online gambling in the province, and the attorney general of Ontario will have to defend the constitutionality of the legislation in court.
The Mohawk Council runs its own gambling licensing regime and insists that the Ontario licensing does not meet the requirements for gambling stipulated in the Canadian constitution.
The Council has filed a motion to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in which it challenges the current legislative framework that allows multiple private online casino operators to enter the Ontario market once they receive a license from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
Under the Canadian constitution, betting and gambling are legal in the country as long as the activities are “conducted and managed” by a provincial government. In all provinces except Ontario the government runs a monopoly, but this year Ontario launched a licensed regime and more than 30 different operators have entered the market since.
It is also true that the constitution does not provide a specific definition of “conducting and managing”, but the Mohawk Council of Kahnawàke believes that it means the province should conduct or manage online gambling directly.