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While the criminal code of Canada does not prohibit online gambling, it does prohibit any type of gambling at an establishment not owned or licensed by a provincial government. Not withstanding this fact, there are an estimated 1,200 to 1,400 offshore websites that make casino type games and other gambling activities available to Canadians. For online gambling operations within Canada's borders, the Canadian authorities are willing to prosecute, but as of this date, have only done so once, when British Columbia prosecuted Starnet Communications International ("SCI"), a Delaware corporation, run by residents of Vancouver, where one of the company's servers was located. The court found that SCI had sufficient contact with Canada to be prosecuted under its criminal code. SCI was fined $100,000 and forfeited nearly $4 million in profits. It has since moved its operations overseas.
Gambling has become one of the most popular and lucrative businesses on the Internet. In 2007 the UK Gambling Commission stated that the gambling industry had achieved a turnover of over £84 billion. This is partly due to the wide range of gambling options available to many different types of people. An article by Darren R. Christensen, Nicki A. Dowling, Alun C. Jackson and Shane A. Thomas said that a survey recorded in Australia showed that the most common forms of gambling were lotteries (46.5%), keno (24.3%), instant scratch tickets (24.3%), and electronic gaming machines (20.5%).
In September 2006, Sportingbet reported that its chairman, Peter Dicks, was detained in New York City on a Louisiana warrant while traveling in the United States on business unrelated to online gaming. Louisiana is one of the few states that has a specific law prohibiting gambling online. At the end of the month, New York dismissed the Louisiana warrant.