Once upon a time in Canada, there was virtually no such thing as legalized gambling.
Aside from a church bingo game or the crown and anchor wheel down at the local summer fair or maybe a smuggled-in Irish sweepstakes ticket, it was slim pickings for those who liked to wager, unless you were heavily invested into horse racing. If one wanted to gamble, at least legally, doing so meant purchasing a plane ticket to Las Vegas.
Today, the gambling landscape is radically different. But as much as Canada has morphed into Las Vegas North, there is a notable exemption:
Wagering on sports matches. Oh, sure, for some 20-plus years this has been facilitated by the Pro Line provincial-run lottery. But the thing is, a sports bettor must wager on a parlay, meaning, he or she has to choose at least three games. To this day, wagering on single-game sporting events is illegal.
Who knows how many billions the government has lost out on when it comes to forfeiting single-game wagering.
Recently, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli wrote to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau asking for an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada, to legalize single-game sports wagering in Canada. This is a win-win-win on so many fronts, from creating jobs and increasing gambling revenues to attracting American punters to Canadian casinos.
Here’s hoping that the Trudeau Liberals will reverse themselves yet again when they hand down the budget tomorrow and throw their support behind single-game sports wagering.
It would be the right thing for them to do, especially since it’s abundantly clear the budget is not going to “balance itself...”