Upsetting iGaming Regulations for Shawanga Nation

By: Russell Potvin, November 9, 2021

Single event sports betting is soon going to roll out in Canada which ensures that the iGaming market will surely reach new heights. Most of the locally available operators are very thrilled at the opportunity and are happily making preparations to take full advantage of the situation.

However, the Shawanga First Nation is quite displeased with the latest announcements. Demands to slow down the rollout process have been made by representatives from the group. They are specifically concerned about Ontario wherein betting options are already being made available to locals. The problem lies in the fact that there have been no efforts from the federal government to contact or consult the Shawanga Nation while making these changes, according to one of the spokespersons from the group.

The letter has arrived

The same spokespersons also notified that an official letter has been sent by representatives from the Shawanga Nation. The letter requests information about the changes, specifically about whether the new market is likely to include the tribe or not. The response has also been received, however, according to the spokesperson, it is inclusive and limited.

Shawanga's Inherent, Indigenous, and Treaty Rights, Title, and Interests make this matter all the more complicated. This situation is related to the Honor of the Crown which dictates that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has to inform as well as include the Shawanga Nation in all their decisions. A few years back, in 2008, it was found that the deal was breached by the Court of Appeal of Ontario. A similar situation has arisen and they are claiming that the OLG has purposefully left them out such that they are altogether excluded from the iGaming market.

The situation is slightly more complicated

In an attempt to make matters right, the Shawanga Nation has informed the Ontario government and the OLG regarding their displeasure at the new regulations. They have also made an official request that the ongoing preparations and rollout of the iGaming market should be put on hold for the time being. The letter sent by them also clearly indicates that the new regulations which were crafted could only be beneficial to certain gambling sites, that too offshore, and no consideration for the tribe has been made.

In light of this entire situation, the letter is making an official request that not only the market be put on hold for now but a lengthy discussion with the tribe also awaits. They are asking the government and the OLG to honor the contents of the agreement and thus ensure that a constructive method is approached to move forward.

Lately we hear more and more often voices speaking about the need for tighter gambling and betting regulations in Canada. As we see in this case, there is a high demand for the betting products even among indigenous nations. This can of course lead to even bigger problems than within the white population.