It was reported in various publications this weekend that the Canadian government’s stalling of a bill to legalise single-game betting has cost various provinces millions in tax revenue. This is due to Canadian Super Bowl fans having to use foreign and unregulated sports betting websites to wager on the popular NFL event as domestic providers are presently not allowed to offer this service.
Despite the bill being successfully pushed through the commons on March 2nd 2012, a date approaching three years ago, the legislation has been repeatedly stalled due to various protests within government. This weekend, it has been estimated that $150 million Canadian dollars has been illegally wagered on the NFL championship game. A colossal amount that, through being processed through offshore companies, will not be eligible for taxation that would have meant it would have contributed to public services such as education and health care.
Considering that single-game betting is clearly something desired by the Canadian betting public and is a recreational pursuit which would indirectly benefit infrastructure, it is difficult to understand why the legislation is proving so difficult to bring into being, especially when considering that the bill was passed so quickly and without fuss in 2012. It appears that the government allowing respectable and regulated sports betting providers, such as Bet365, already operating in Canada to offer single-game betting would be nothing but beneficial for all parties concerned.
There will always be some who criticise gambling, in one way or another, but ultimately punters have earned their money and should be free to spend it as they see fit. Moreover, if a country is already allowing various forms of online sports betting, it seems odd to suddenly draw the line at single-game betting. Especially, when one considers that this isn’t an unusual or controversial betting option, with many countries around the world offering it without hesitation.
Canada’s conservative apprehension over single-game betting is all the more confusing when one considers the country’s love of, and contribution to, the online poker industry. Toronto native Daniel Negreanu is one of the most successful professional online poker players in world today and has been a spokesperson for online poker site Poker Mountain since 2005 and was officially signed to online league Poker Stars in 2007. Negreanu has promoted several online poker websites since returning to Canada and this variant of online gambling has proved increasingly popular in the country since then. So it has to be asked why, with this healthy appreciation of online poker being so openly promoted within Canada, why has the government decided to take a hardline approach to single-game betting?
It is truly a frustrating situation which negatively effects both sports fans and public services. Whilst, various government officials have made it clear that the bill will pass eventually, the public’s frustration will only increase with every major sporting event that passes that they cannot bet on in the way they desire. Punters can only hope that when it comes to this bill, that the odds don’t continue to lengthen and soon they will be on to a sure-fire winner.
by Joe Parks