Canada investigates online sports betting

Canada investigates online sports betting

WITH sports betting proving massively popular across Canada, sports betting websites have become a significant money-spinner for the Canadian Government thanks to the percentages that provincial governments pick up via the operators.

However, online casinos are a different matter – and with an increasingly large number of people turning to online casinos for their sports betting, provinces are failing to pick up the usual cash bonanza prompting Canada to investigate the revenues that are being made.

Provincial control

The Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre put together a report which showed that 16.7 per cent of all online gambling is betting on sports. There is a criminal code in Canada that grants provinces jurisdiction over gambling activities with some granting betting options within their lotteries, while others have their own online casino websites.

However, in most of these cases the options available to gamblers are not as extensive as they can find in other places. Furthermore, the margins available are wider than in other places – meaning that betters are not getting the same value for money as they could elsewhere.

Online deals

Eye-catchingly for gamblers, there is no prohibition relating to those who want to place bets with an online bookmaker. On an online gambling website they are able to place their money on single games too, which is illegal at gambling venues in Canada where there are rules that someone must place at least three bets across two sporting events. Payouts are often only generated in situations where all of these bets win together.

In addition, with an offshore betting option, mobile gambling is possible – this is not available in the majority of provincial online casinos.

Revenue slipping away

Canadians are spending around $4billion annually using online sports betting websites – that compares to $500million on the sports products that are offered by provinces. With no taxes or revenue from online gambling, the $4billion is leaving the country: which is widely seen as a major financial loss.

As such, a number of legal moves are being made.

According to the Canadian Gambling Association, revenues from Canadian gambling reach around $16billion a year. With this in mind, in 2012, the C-290 bill was introduced which was aimed at allowing single game bets to be places within Canadian casinos. The bill was successful within the House of Commons, but it ran into problems in the Senate as senators believed it simply made it too easy for countrymen to gamble.

However, the calls for reform within Canada have remained. It is suggested that a reform in gambling at provincial outlets would make it easier for people to bet responsibly and carry less risk. It would also mean that more funding could be placed into dealing with the potential negative effects of gambling, such as addiction.

Others, meanwhile, have labelled Canada’s approach to sports betting as simply outdated. Consumers, it appears, are demanding a different approach to gambling that is not so restrictive – and it might be time for Canada to lift the shackles or see more of its revenue slip away.