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Canada and the online gambling dilemma

The Canadian province of Alberta is again making headlines in the online gambling industry. It was just announced that the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) is conducting a survey among its residents to find out how they feel about online gambling, with the question focusing mostly on the games of poker, blackjack and bingo. The survey started through the phone in the beginning and now it's spreading online, as well. However, spokesman for the AGLC said that it will take a long time before, and if, the local government allows Internet gambling websites from outside the province to operate on its jurisdiction.

This has sparked quite a debate, and a big opposition from Calgary's Catholic church and other social consciousness advocates. They are calling the willingness of the Alberta's government to allow Internet gambling "immoral" and that they are ignoring the social side of the act and focusing only on the money aspect of the possible future legalizing of online gambling websites from outside the province, claiming that the impact on the citizens would be much greater than any profits drawn from it.

And on the similar issue - AGLC is now investigating Alberta's First nation, which is offering to host online gambling websites from all over the world on their territory. According to the commission this is illegal gambling and they are committed to go through with cracking down on it.

Alexander First Nation announced late last year that it will offer licenses and regulation to online gambling operators saying that the treaty band can operate under its own gambling laws separately from Canada or Alberta. There has been no evidence that gambling websites have started operating yet, but AGLC is keeping a close eye on it. For this time there is nothing illegal, just a website soliciting the service, province regulator has said. According to Norm Peterson, the provincial regulator, AGLC will shut down any online casinos which may start operating in the future with Alexander. However, Alexander is building a huge 2,300 square foot data center to accommodate future servers.

Some experts say that they are following the model in Quebec established by the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake which is one of the worlds largest hosts for online gambling websites. There are hundreds of online casinos licensed under the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, some of which include Bodog, founder of which is Calvin Ayre, who was born in Saskatchewan. Quebec's attorney general has been quoted many times of saying that it's illegal, but charges have never been filed against them, as some legal experts have argued that the Kahnawake Gaming Commission is protected by the Canadian constitution.

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