Ontario heading to mediation for alleged breaching Aboriginal rights through iGaming launch

“We respect the mediation process and are eager to achieve a fair agreement with the government,” added MSIFN chief Kelly LaRocca. “Our Council looks forward to addressing these longstanding issues in a fair and prompt way.”

Law Times previously reported that on Jan. 29, the provincial government announced that private gaming operators registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and have an operating agreement with AGCO’s subsidiary, iGaming Ontario, could begin offering their games to players across the province starting Apr. 4. However, LaRocca said the announcement was “a slap in the face of First Nations and reduced their promises of reconciliation to a joke.”

“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.

She said the former Liberal provincial government committed with MSIFN to limit the number of casinos in the Durham region and not operate any new casino in the GTA nearby MSIFN’s Great Blue Heron Casino. However, Premier Doug Ford passed new regulations when he came into power in 2018—for example, allowing the Pickering Casino Resort to operate 50 kilometers away from GBH.

The MSIFN has alleged that launching the online gaming market, according to gaming experts, will devastate their economy, set back decades of community development efforts and place more than 2,500 well-paying jobs at risk.

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