mi-online-gambling

The Saskatchewan government is looking at entering the online gambling industry, but a former chief of a First Nation may beat them to it. (CBC)

The provincial government says online gambling sites will not be allowed to be hosted in Saskatchewan.

The government has been mulling over online gambling for several years, but on Monday, Donna Harpauer, the minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, shut the door on the idea.

Harpauer was talking to reporters after a former chief of White Bear First Nation said he will launch Saskatchewan's first online casino, despite not having permission from any level of government.

Speaking to a CBC reporter Monday, Bernie Shepherd confirmed a Saskatoon Star-Phoenix story that said Northern Bear online casino is set to open on Tuesday.

Shepherd was a key figure fighting for First Nations jurisdiction over gambling when the first on-reserve casino was set up on White Bear First Nation in the 1990s.

He said there will be a formal announcement about his casino Tuesday morning.

Harpauer said if anyone were to open an online casino in Saskatchewan, it would be illegal.

The provincial government has toyed with the idea of opening its own online casino by itself or in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority.

However, six months ago, it decided the risks were greater than the benefits, she said.

There is no compelling business case for introducing a new form of gambling and there are issues of social responsibility, too, Harpauer said.

"Gambling is a problem and we know that and we are then being involved as a government in another form of gambling," she said.