Published On: Sat, Nov 5th, 2016

The Canadian Gaming Association Loses on Odd Vote

 The Canadian Gaming Association realizes there are limitations the organization must accept. Among those limitations would be the inability to guarantee a favorable action from the Canadian Parliament. While lobbying and requests from business interests do factor into any legislative body’s decision, parliament does have to answer to the voters. Sometimes, the interests of the voters and the interests of businesses do not intertwine. The Canadian Gaming Association certainly understands not all votes are going to go its way. The recent decision by Parliament had to be a surprise though.

The defeat of Bill C-221, The Safe & Regulated Sports Wagering Act, was by a 156 – 133 tally. The crux of this bill was to attempt curbs on certain aspects of illegal gambling. $14 billion is wagered illegally per year in Canada. The bill would have allowed representatives from scores of different entities affiliated with legal gambling to “engage” with M.P.s over the matter.

Those who supported the bill do have a host of good points to stress. Illegal gambling absolutely does drain money away from the legal ventures that are involved in licensed and sanctioned gambling. Illegal gambling is a competitor to legal gambling. And, of course, illegal gambling exists in violation of all laws.

One thing hinted at in the reports about the failed vote is how funds diverted away from legal gambling hurts the average Canadian citizen. The assumption is only those who run the casinos and wager at the casinos benefit from the proper support of the legal gaming industry. The truth is people are employed in many different ways when the casino industry is healthy. The food service industry, for example, gains far-reaching economic benefits when clients such as casinos are doing well. Casinos cannot do as well as they could when funds are directed away to illegal enterprises.

The Canadian Gaming Association truly wishes it could come together with Parliament to come up with workable legislation capable of protecting legitimate businesses while putting strains on illegal betting enterprises and sportsbooks. In many ways, it is quizzical why the legislative bodies did not choose to work with the CMA. After all, the government on the local and national level loses tax revenue. ne of the major reasons gambling was legalized in Canada and elsewhere in the world was to ensure tax receipts increase. Wagering is not a perfect way to increase treasury coffers, but it is consistently reliable.

This is not to suggest the CMA and Parliament are never going to revisit this legislation. A new vote with revised legislation could take place in the near future. Turning a few “no” votes into “yes” votes might not even take much effort.

Illegal gambling is certainly not something the members of Parliament support in any way. The underground wagering industry should not look at the vote as a “thumbs up” to its behavior.

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