The gambling scene in Canada
The gambling scene in Canada used to be the domain of organized crime, however that all changed in 1985 when provinces and territories were given the opportunity to legalize all forms of gambling. Gambling is certainly popular in Canada, in 2017 the country’s six gambling authorities reported a $7.3bn income. And the potential impact that it can have on the economy is certainly worth exploring. Vegas and Macau are thriving due to the impact that the gambling sector is having.
It’s always been clear how popular gambling is, therefore it was just a matter of time before it spread online, resulting in players being able to play their favourite games, at any time of day. However, some countries are more lenient than others. In Canada, the advent of online gambling has provided a bit of a grey area for consumers and authorities alike. The practice is legal, but only if it’s provided by a licensed provincial government.
A fully licensed offshore casino online can operate efficiently and they usually prove to be incredibly successful due to the demand for online casino games. However, the problem lies with unlicensed sites. Over 1,000 unlicensed sites currently offer their services in Canada, with one or two being prosecuted by Canadian provinces.
How does gambling benefit Canada?
The gambling industry is incredibly beneficial to the Canadian economy, with the industry bringing in nearly $20 billion a year. That figure is higher than France, Spain, Russia, Australia, China and Argentina, all countries with formidable betting gambling sectors.
These large revenues boost the governments tax income and provide jobs for thousands of Canadians across the country. Luxurious land-based casinos also draw in tourists from around the world, further boosting the Canadian economy. Those that oppose gambling in Canada argue that it could go down the same route as Trump’s casino empire in Atlantic City. The number of cities that attract tourists are limited and the citizens alone are unlikely to be enough to keep many land-based venues alive. With this is mind, online casinos could be the way forward for Canadians, they obviously require less maintenance and they aren’t in the way of other potential tourist attractions.
How could online gambling affect Canada?
Obviously, the legalisation of any form of gambling leads to moral obligations from religious and community groups. There are fears amongst those groups in Canada that a widespread legalisation of online gambling would increase social problems.
The method of thinking is that with more options to bet online, problem gambling will rise which in turn would lead to increases in petty crimes.
However, the evidence behind this is largely anecdotal, in fact in one report a gambling expert suggested that widespread legalisation of gambling in the UK led to a more mature audience, who were less likely to encounter problems with gambling.
Where does online gambling work?
In the United Kingdom, one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to gambling. Punters on the sceptred isle are free to bet on sports, roulette, bingo and slots, all from their mobile phone from the comfort of their own home.
The gross-gambling yield in the UK reached nearly £15 billion recently, with a third of that coming from the online market. Increased tax revenues have also allowed the UK government to set-up several organizations designed to offer support to problem gamblers.
Could the USA follow Canada’s lead?
In short, online gambling in the USA is largely illegal, except from in a handful of states that have legalised the process. States where the practice is illegal could follow the example of Canada in regulating online gambling strictly, as a method to trial online gambling’s widespread legalisation.
Should Canada follow the UK’s lead?
In a word, yes. There seems to be a distinct scent of hypocrisy and irony in Canada when you consider that land-based casinos are legal and the use of them is often encouraged, whilst only leading offshore online casinos are legal. The popularity of gambling in Canada is there for all to see, a city centre casino in Detroit is making record breaking amounts of revenue – providing a boost to the local economy.
The government should not have a monopoly on online gambling, rather they should encourage an open market place that is fair on businesses and consumers. Perhaps if Canada leads the way with online gambling, the USA will follow.