First Nation criticizes Ontario government over upcoming launch of online gaming market

Online market launching Apr. 4

First Nation criticizes Ontario government over upcoming launch of online gaming market

The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN) has criticized the Ontario government’s decision to launch the online gaming market in the province.

On Jan. 29, the provincial government announced that private gaming operators registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) that have executed an operating agreement with AGCO’s subsidiary, iGaming Ontario, can begin offering their games to players across the province starting Apr. 4.

In a released statement, MSIFN chief Kelly LaRocca said that the announcement “is a slap in the face of First Nations and reduces their promises of reconciliation to a joke.”

LaRocca alleged that the government failed to hold formal consultations with the Indigenous governments about the impact of the new online gaming market, thereby violating s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which recognizes and affirms Indigenous peoples in Canada’s Aboriginal and treaty rights.

“We intend to challenge the province’s iGaming scheme in court,” LaRocca said. 

The MSIFN also alleged that launching the new online gaming market, as per research, will devastate their economy, set back decades of community development efforts and place more than 2,500 well-paying jobs at risk.

“The Ford government has recklessly ignored our concerns and has not offered any strategies to address the impact that their inadequate plan will have on our First Nation, our culture and our ability to provide services to our community,” LaRocca said. “If the Ford government is not willing to address the harms caused by its decision, we will have to make them accountable in an election year.”

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