The Americas division of NetEnt has received the necessary approval from the British Columbia Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) to provide the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) with content for its online casinos. The move comes a year after Swedish iGaming provider left the Canadian market without too many problems.
British Columbia is the fifth largest province in Canada by area and the third largest by population. The BCLC has been entrusted with the mission of legally providing gambling services within the borders of the province. According to the company's latest financial report, it generated revenues of C $ 3.1 billion in the year ended March 31, 2016.
Commenting on the latest announcement, NetEnt Chairman and CEO Per Eriksson said they are happy to go further in their expansion effort. He also pointed out that NetEnt has embarked on an important journey towards expanding its presence in regulated markets..
As mentioned above, the GPEB license marked NetEnt's return to Canada, although the provider will only supply its products to the regulated iGaming space in British Columbia..
In Canada, the regulation of online gambling is vague, to say the least. First of all, it is important to note that it is up to each Canadian province and territory to regulate its gaming industry. However, it can be said to a greater extent that the provision of online gambling services is neither legal nor illegal.
In other words, Canadian players have access to unlicensed operators and their offering. However, under the laws of the country, online gaming operators must provide their services from abroad..
As mentioned above, NetEnt games were previously available at online casinos located in Canada. However, it was last spring that the provider quietly pulled its games from these same casinos without releasing any official statement on the matter..
In May 2016, it was learned that iGaming's Guts, Rizk and Betspin brands, all three owned by the Gaming Innovation Group, would no longer offer NetEnt games to Canadian players. Other Canadian casinos withdrew titles from the Swedish supplier in the months that followed.
NetEnt itself announced in the fall of 2016 that it would apply for a license to deliver its content to gaming customers in British Columbia..
While the vendor has not provided an official reason for its withdrawal from the Canadian gambling market, it likely won't be wrong to suggest that the country's overall regulatory environment was the main driver behind this decision..
It's also important to note that NetEnt hasn't been the only gambling company to pull out of Canada in recent years. Gaming operator Ladbrokes exited the market in 2014, citing regulatory concerns and noting that "Canada was not a major contributor". In May 2016, William Hill announced his withdrawal from British Columbia. In the words of the operator, he had been asked to do so due to regulatory issues..