First Nations Disturbed over New Ontario iGaming Market

First Nations Ontario iGaming image
Indigenous people Canada. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The Mississaugas of Scugog Island have indicated their disapproval with the launch of Ontario’s new iGaming market.

A prominent First Nation, the Mississaugas of Scugog Island, have voiced their dissatisfaction with the launch of the private operator iGaming market in Ontario.  The Frist Nation has indicated that they are now ready to take the matter to court.  Their grudge is based on the fact that the province failed to hold formal discussions with Indigenous authorities regarding the new gaming regime’s impact.

Last week, iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, announced that the new open digital gaming market would go live on 4 April 2022.  From that day, private operators approved by the regulator will legally be able to offer online wagering in the province.

Direct Threat to First Nations

Shortly after the announcement, the Scugog Island First Nation issued a statement in which it condemned the Ford government for its plan to launch a “deeply flawed” iGaming platform.  The First Nation is concerned that the new market segment will destroy the local economy and set back decades of indigenous community development.

Tribe representatives added that the provincial government has failed to hold formal discussions with the Indigenous people, which violates its duty to accommodate impacted groups.  Chief of the Mississaugas, Kelly LaRocca, described the province’s resolution as a slap in the face of the tribe and trivialised any promises of reconciliation.

Additionally, LaRocca claims that, based on research from gaming experts, the new market segment would funnel away millions of dollars from First Nations, municipalities across Ontario, and the provincial budget.  The tribe claims that the new setup would put more than 2,500 local jobs at risk.  It also noted that the government did not deliberate on how it plans to address the budget shortfall and casino layoffs.

LaRocca also commented that the provincial administration has recklessly disregarded the concern of the Indigenous peoples and failed to offer solutions to address the impact of the iGaming plan.  In her words, the new market poses a significant threat, and if the Ford government does not budge, the Mississaugas will make them accountable in the next elections.

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