Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Thorny Path of Gambling in Canada

Here is the deal, countries with an austere governmental gambling policy somehow endure all restrictions and prohibitions and generate the highest gambling revenues. Let's take a look at China. Gambling there is officially not allowed though China is the world’s topmost gaming market with revenue of $22.2 billion. The United States with half-restricted gambling activity has generated $22 billion as of the end of 2015. Canada online casino market took the 8th spot in the World Rank by revenue with $1.8 billion.

About Gambling In Canada in the 1970s

Prior to 1970, any kind of gambling activities was was recognized as illegal. When the Liberal Party took the office under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1969, the House of Commons passed the gambling reform. No wonders. Pierre Trudeau was the proponent of revision of gambling policy. Once the office was reclaimed by the liberals certain amendments was approved. The federal government was forced to delegate competence in the gambling affairs to local provincial authorities.

Pierre Trudeau
(Pierre Trudeau)

Quebec Gambling Pioneer

Quebec was first to set up 2 Crown corporations (one of them was Loto-Québec) to control and handle horse racing and provincial lotteries. Quebec model was subsequently supported by others. Four more Canadian provinces established their own regional controlled lotteries. In 1971, Manitoba founded its own lottery, Alberta and Saskatchewan - in 1974. British Columbia created its regional lottery in 1974. Moreover, soon it joined Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta in the Western Canadian Lottery Foundation (now it's Western Canada Lottery Corporation) establishing initiative. In 1973 federal government founded the Olympic Lottery Corporation to support financially Montreal Summer Olympic Games in 1976.

Loto‑Québec Office

(Loto‑Québec Office)

Changes in Politics
During following years with the change in political course from liberal to conservative, changes in the attitude towards gambling were inevitable. By the end of the 1970s, the progressive conservative government required from provincial authorities to return $24 million annual payment as compensation. Such status quo lasted until the Liberal party won the office over.

When The Liberal Party of Canada returned in 1980, the wind of change blew. Provincial governments tried to contest the federal government decision in court. But Progressive Conservatives under Brian Mulroney reclaimed the House of Commons by winning a solid parliamentary majority (the greatest electoral in the history of Canadian parliament).
Tory Leader Brian Mulroney and his wife Mila

(Tory Leader Brian Mulroney and his wife Mila)

How Things Work These Days?

Since June 1985, local governments paid 24 million CAD annually to the federal government according to the 1979 agreement. And finally, in 1985 new gambling agreement was reached. Provinces were allowed alone or in partnership with other provinces to conduct and operate lotteries. In other words, Canadian provinces were granted the exclusive authority to operate and/or license particular kinds of gambling activity.

Land-Based Slot Machine

In 30 years since the 1985 agreement, in 2015 $2 billion total gambling revenue was generated in the Canadian. Today, lotteries are still huge golden gooses for Canada's both provincial and federal budgets. Gambling in Canada has grown to include ticket lotteries, horse racing, charitable gaming (including bingo), casino-style gambling, video lottery terminals. Yet not all these forms of gambling are available everywhere in Canada.

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