Is Canada’s restrictive approach to live, online sports betting a good thing?
There are countless Canadians who wish the locals laws on sports betting could be less restrictive. I’ve personally been an advocate of legalizing straight-up sports bets for years now. But alas, all we have access to within Canada are parlay-style wagers. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.
After hearing of a report from Australia, perhaps it’s time we reconsider. Maybe our nation’s more restrictive approach, limiting up to a Pro-Line Sports Lottery, is a good thing. And besides, we do have access to highly reputable, international online sportsbooks, where single event wagers are welcome.
Study Shows Australia’s Youth Correlate Sports with Gambling
Deakin University, in Victoria, Australia, has done a series of studies on the correlation between sports, gambling, and the country’s youth. Their findings indicate that three out of four children who are sports fans associate sports with gambling. Researchers point to the increase in the number of online sportsbooks, mobile betting apps, and the consistent advertisement of those operations, as the primary cause.
A 2016 study concluded that “kids who are fans of sport are soaking up the messages that they see in betting advertising for sports and racing.”
The group study, revolving around families with at least one child age 14-18, found that “teenagers…perceived that there was an inherent association between gambling and sport, influenced by what they termed ‘constant’ promotions for gambling (and in particular betting) during sport.”
Australia has since tightened up regulations on when sports betting ads can be promoted, but they remain active during live televised sporting events.; the number one culprit identified by researchers.
Canada’s Restrictive Approach to Live, Online Sports Betting
Here in Canada, the only legal form of sports betting is conducted by provincial regulators, who offer the Pro-Line Sports Lottery. We can place wagers on teams, pools, point spreads and props, but are restricted to parlays.
A parlay wager is one where the bettor must select between 2 and 6 outcomes. (Even that’s a plus, having been downgraded from a minimum 3+ selections last year). If all selections are correct, the bettor wins. If any are incorrect, the bet is lost. Clearly, the odds on parlays are not so great as they would be on single event wagers; the reason so many of us oppose the limitations of Canadian sports betting laws.
However, with bets being so restricted, and there being no competition between betting companies, we’re not bombarded with endless sports betting ads each time a live match is broadcast. Our children aren’t subject to feverish commercialism, as they are in other countries like Australia.
For those of us who don’t mind the parlay-style betting, we have plenty of ways to make a wager. You can fill out a slip at your local retailer, play online via desktop, or get the mobile app and place your wagers on the go. And for those of us who prefer less limitations, we can visit any reputable online sports betting site licensed overseas without breaking any laws.
In light of all this information, I’d say we’ve got the best of both worlds. We live in a nation where the protection of our youth is high on the agenda. Yet as adults, we have the freedom to make mature decisions about how and where we gamble.