Canadian economy losing out on sports betting potentials

The sports betting industry is continually growing and with the Canadian government’s failure to legalize it, millions of dollars is being lost yearly in tax revenue, investment and job creation.

Recently, several states in the U.S. including Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island and West Virginia have legalized sports betting. This has led to the massive growth of the sport betting industry in the U.S.

However, gambling isn’t alien to Canadians as betting companies such as bet365 continue to offer massive bonuses, ensuring that players are thoroughly

“Globally, sports gambling is a US$200bn industry. In Canada and the United States, TV sports watching, and gambling is increasingly popular among 18 to 34-year-old men, although Canadians tune in slightly less than their American counterparts,” noted Deloitte &Touche in the 18th edition of Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions.

“In 2019, 60 per cent of Canadian and American men aged 18-34 who watch sports on TV will also bet on sports, and the more often they bet, the more often they’ll watch.”

Early November 2018, there was big news in the sports and gambling industries as the National Hockey League (NHL) announced a multi-year strategic partnership in the sports betting industry with MGM Resorts International. The announcement, made by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in New York City, meant MGM Resorts became the first official sports betting of theNHL.

“The new sports betting landscape presents a unique opportunity for fan engagement utilizing technology and data that are exclusive to our League,” said Bettman.

With more mergers—and sports betting giants such as bet365 offering players massive winnings—the industry would continue to boom. Late last year, the conglomerate that owns the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and Newark’s Prudential Center announced they had secured a deal with one the largest gambling platforms, Caesars Entertainment, to promote sports betting to customers who have gambling accounts on their mobile phones.

“This is an excellent example of the type of relationship the Canadian gaming industry is looking for with professional sports leagues,” said Paul Burns, President & CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association in a report. “We know that Canadians enjoy single-event sports betting because they are wagering approximately $14 billion annually through illegal channels.”

“We invite the NHL to work with our gaming industry to bring about the changes required to realize the full economic potential of single-event sports wagering in Canada – and give Canadian fans the same experience as their US counterparts,” he continued.

Bettmanremarked that while sports betting is illegal in Canada, clubs are still working towards collaborating with lotteries.

“The clubs in Canada have been working with the lotteries, who control gambling on a provincial basis,” he said. “As the law evolves, you’ll see our evolution in dealing with it.”

The American Gaming Association projects that the four major sports leagues would generate a combined increased revenue of more than $4.2 billion yearly through various channels including sponsorship, TV advertising, media rights, data/product revenue, ticket merchandise and tickets sales – with this expected income coming as a result of a legalized, regulated sports betting market.

Doing this will bring in another stream of income tax and sales tax for the government—in addition with the gaming taxes that would be collected once sports betting is legalized.

In Canada today, the Criminal Code only allows wagering on two or more sporting events at a time. It is illegal to placea bet on just one event or outcome, which is the most popular option in sports betting.

Additionally, several Canadian border casinos have harboured plans to create sports betting centres to lure Americans over the border to Canadian casinos.

In 2012, the NDP sponsored a private member’s bill to permit single sports gambling in Canada. However, despite the fact it was approved by all political parties and supported by nine provinces with casinos, the Senate delayed the legislation until the 2015 general election was called, terminating the bill.

Nonetheless, it is time for the Canadian government to cash in on the current sports betting rave and according to a research by the Canadian Gaming Association, Canadians are wagering approximately $10 billion annually through illegal bookmaking operations in Canada.

These operations are usually run by organized crime organizations and additionally, more than $4 billion is wagered by Canadians through offshore online sports wagering sites.

Moving south of the border, states that have now legalized sports betting are witnessinghuge investments, rise in gaming tax revenues and more employment opportunities. Over $336 million in bets placed has been gotten in New Jersey alone, since it was legalized in June 2018.

Also, last year, lawmakers in Mississippi decided that revenue obtained from the existing sports betting law will be useful in paying for social works such as education, road and bridge repairs.

After the legalization of marijuana, Canada should be a major leader in the sports betting industry, but would now have to play second fiddle to the U.S. According to recent statements, the Canadian Members of Parliament are hoping to become key players in the movement of legalizing sports betting, stating that, "there's absolutely no reason not to be." 


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