TORONTO, Canada -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Last night's raid by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit on a private Super Bowl party in York Region highlights one more time why the Senate of Canada needs to take action and pass Bill C290 to permit legal single event sports wagering opportunities for Canadians.
"What we now have learned is that this party was just one part of a sophisticated organized crime operation taking millions of dollars in sports wagers, the proceeds of which are used to fund other illegal operations of organized crime" said Bill Rutsey, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association.
Right now Canadians have no legal option to place wagers on single sporting events. It is estimated that over $10 Billion annually is wagered through illegal book making operations in Canada and an additional $4 billion wagered through offshore online sports wagering sites.
Bill C290 was introduced as private members bill in November 2011 and was passed by the House of Commons with all party support in March of 2012. Eight provincial governments support Bill C290 across Canada.
The Senate resumes third reading debate on Bill C290 on February 5. If approved, the bill would give people a better option than turning to illegal bookmakers or offshore operators to place bets by amending the criminal code to permit the provinces to offer a single event wager.
The CGA points to the fact that Canada's law regarding sports betting is outdated and developed before the world knew what the Internet was. It needs to be updated to offer a safer environment for Canadians who choose to participate in sports betting.
"We are now at the stage where we can talk about lost opportunities for communities across the country - such as economic development, employment, and most of all, protection of players," added Mr. Rutsey. "Our current sports betting laws date back to the 1960s when the world was a very different place. It should be a no-brainer to amend the legislation to allow Canadians to place a bet without having to combine it with additional outcomes or seek out nefarious means."
About the Canadian Gaming Association
The fundamental goal of the Canadian Gaming Association is to create balance in the public dialogue about gaming in Canada.
Our members are among the largest most established gaming operators, suppliers and gaming equipment manufacturers in Canada.
Our mandate is to create a better understanding of the gaming industry through education and advocacy.
Visit our website at www.canadiangaming.ca and find more about the CGA.
Background on Bill C-290
Bill C290 was introduced in the House of Commons on September 28, 2011
It was debated and passed second reading on November 1, 2011 - it was referred to the House Justice Committee, which held it's hearing on February 16, 2012.
On March 2, 2012 third reading debate was held and the bill received unanimous consent. The Bill has had support from all Parties in the House of Commons.
The Federal Minister of Justice has received letters from five provincial governments requesting the criminal code be amended to permit single event sports wagering. Letters were received from the governments. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The provinces of Quebec, PEI and New Brunswick have also indicated support for the amendment
Sports Wagering in Canada
Canada has had widespread sports wagering offered by provincially owned gaming corporations for well over twenty years.
It is estimated Canadians are spending approximately $10 billion annually on sports wagering - Approx $500M is spent on the legal sports wagering products offer by provincial gaming products such as Sports Select or Proline.
It is estimated that $4 Billion is being wagered annually through offshore online sports books and close to $5 Billion is being wager through illegal bookmaking operations and organized crime in Canada.
It is a sports wagering product Canadians are seeking out and Provincial gaming corporations are wanting to off a legal, regulated single event sports wagering product to Canadians.
A case study prepared by HLT Advisory for the Canadian Gaming Association estimates that a competitive legal sports book that offered single-event wagering could potentially generate primarily from the US market about $70.0 million in wagering (or $3.6 million in win) in Windsor and about $35.0 million (or about $1.7 million in win) in Niagara. These estimates are consistent with the average results of sports books in Las Vegas.
In addition to sports book win, incremental gaming win and incremental non-gaming or ancillary revenue could also be generated due to the sports book. HLT estimates that between $18.0 and $24.0 million in gaming win and between $5.0 and $7.0 million in ancillary revenue could be generated at Caesars Windsor. HLT estimates that between $9.0 and $12.0 million in gaming win and about $3.0 million in ancillary revenue could be generated at the Niagara Casinos.
In total, a sports book offering single-event sports wagering could potentially generate incremental revenue of between $27.0 and $35.0 million in Windsor and between $13.0 and $17.0 million in Niagara, the majority of which would be earned from US customers. Utilizing the results of the 2010 Economic Impact of the Canadian Gaming Industry Study (which utilized the Statistics Canada Input-Output Model) this incremental business could support/sustain up to 150 jobs (full-time equivalent) in Windsor and up to 100 jobs (full-time equivalent) in Niagara. Given that both casinos currently have capacity to accommodate increased business levels, it is likely that the introduction of a sports book would help to protect existing employment levels.
Greater Oversight and Regulation
A regulated and transparent single event sports wagering system in Canada will provide greater oversight of sports wagering that will protect customers and give sports league an enhance tool to ensure the integrity of games.
The alternative to not passing this legislation to leave single event sports wagering in hands of offshore bookies and organized crime.
The statements made by the foreign professional sports leagues fail to recognize that significant wagering on their games exist today and the opportunity to have greater oversight and regulation should be welcome.
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