It makes eminent sense to turn off the tap to such a lucrative source of funds for the bad guys and make it available to provincial governments to help fund programs and services for the general good. And it makes even more sense with provincial governments entering the online market. To further quote from the forthcoming CGA report: “The win from (illegal) sports betting on the Internet in Canada...is likely in the range of $2.0 to $4.0 billion.”
From a tourism and economic development perspective it’s a no-brainer; with more than 100 million Americans within a six-hour drive of a Canadian casino and existing US federal law explicitly prohibiting sports betting where it doesn’t already legally exist (essentially Nevada), single-event sports betting could be a significant attractor, especially during times and events like March Madness, the NFL and NBA playoffs, and Super Bowl. The incremental economic activity generated from sports books offering single-event wagering could be appreciable and support and sustain hundreds of jobs in existing casino properties.
And remember - the revenues from single event sports betting noted above already exist and continue to grow. The interest to bet on sports is significant and pervasive. Ordinary people, our neighbours and friends, bet on sports every day. Under the existing law this makes them complicit in illegal activities. These people are not criminals and what they are doing is legal in many other countries around the world.
It really is time for our federal representatives to get off their duffs and catch up with what Canadians are doing, and more importantly, take that money away from the bad guys and make it available for the public good. Not only does it make sense, it’s just the right thing to do.
- Bill Rutsey, President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association