Chris Keevill, President and CEO of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC), has revealed that the organisation is struggling to compete with unregulated, offshore digital gambling providers which have used the COVID-19 outbreak as a means to attract new customers.

As reported by CBC, Keevill discussed how a shift in focus by the corporation to online gaming could see the group prevent an estimated loss of $100m in annual revenue. However, the move to a digital platform isn’t without its own challenges, with the ALC facing tough competition from hundreds of offshore gaming platforms.

Discussing the rise of unregulated gambling providers during the COVID crisis, Keevil stated in the article: “We think that there’s at least a 20% increase on an annualised basis with that number, and maybe more. So it’s a problem and it’s getting worse.”

Keevill went on to discuss how the ALC felt obliged to restructure in light of these new offshore challenges due to its proceeds, which would in turn go back into the Atlantic province, now coming under threat. 

In relation to how COVID has impacted the ALC, Keevill was quoted by CBC: “Our challenges are not unlike a lot of other businesses in Atlantic Canada. There’s a digital transformation that is hitting a lot of industries, and that digital transformation is moving customers from traditional ways of buying goods and services to buying online.

“That change is upon us in the lottery business as players look to buy their tickets and play their games through our website.”

Keevill added that some jurisdictions allow the hosting of offshore gaming platforms, most of them in Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, the Caribbean and areas within Central and South America. Regarding these platforms he said companies are able to market themselves through digital channels and sometimes television, offering free registration and free-to-play games.

He concluded: “But once they’ve got you for free, registered online, then they can market to you directly, to drop your credit card or set up a funded account so that the money moves offshore.

“There’s no certainty that the play is fair, as an example. There’s no certainty that the money is going to come back to you when you want it to come back to you. There’s no regulation or oversight.”