canada, ontario, constitution, indiginous tribes, Kahnawàke, online gambling, regulation, igaming, responsible gambling

iGaming Ontario laws face Kahnawàke council in court

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawàke (or MCK) has launched a constitutional challenge against iGaming Ontario and the attorney-general of Ontario. The argument put forward by the Native Canadian council is that the province’s gambling regulation is unconstitutional and will unfairly affect Kahnawàke operators’ incomes.

This comes after iGaming Ontario made a promise in October to crack down on active operators without an iGaming Ontario license, including operators licensed by the Kahnawàke Gaming Commission.

In a statement, The Mohawk Council of Kahnawàke said that it was clear to them that the province wasn’t conducting or managing online gambling, saying: “Instead, iGaming Ontario is allowing operators to conduct and manage themselves, subject to the payment of a portion of their revenues to Ontario.”

The statement went on to say that with the new competition in the market, the licensed Ontario system will lead to reduced revenue for the Kahnawàke tribe, saying: “MCK has facilitated, conducted, and safely regulated gaming activities on behalf of the Mohawks of Kahnawàke for decades, and says this new regime ignores their expertise in the gaming sector and will result in the loss of significant revenue to the community of Kahnawàke.”

Council chief Mike Desisle Jr said of the situation: “The plain facts are that Ontario’s actions are causing a significant loss of important revenues for our community. Until these actions were taken, we were operating legally, safely, and successfully across Canada. To be shut out of Ontario – by far the largest province in Canada – will have devastating effects on a source of income that has supplemented programmes and services in our community for the last two decades.”

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