Canadian Gaming Association appoints new President & CEO

Will CGA’s new leader lobby for single sports betting in Canada?

Legal Status of Single Sports Betting in CanadaOn the whole, Canada has a relatively open gaming policy. Many forms of gambling are legal in most provinces. They offer commercial and charitable casinos, with slot machines, table games and poker, lotteries, bingo and sports betting. In some of the nation’s largest provinces, these activities are available both on land and online.

But when you take a closer look, some activities are highly restrictive. Sports betting, in particular, has some rather unsavory stipulations. Due to the current legal status, bettors may only place parlay wagers on sports. This means they must select at least two – sometimes at least 3 – teams, contests or athletes. If all of their picks don’t win, the bet is lost.

This is not a favorable way to bet on sports. Sure, the payouts are higher for a win, but the odds of actually winning are terrible. Almost everywhere else in the world (where the activity is legal) permits straight-up betting on single events.

The end result is negative for Canada, in more ways than one. Year after year, it’s causing millions of dollars in wagers to flow through illegal gambling channels. Organized crime units are reaping the benefits, offering single-event bets in seedy backroom bars. Millions more are funneling to offshore online sportsbooks, where the activity is perfectly legal.

New Leadership for Canadian Gaming Association

For more than a decade, the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) has played an instrumental role in the development and evolution of the nation’s gambling industry. The non-profit organization conducts and commissions important research, supplies statistical data to the public and politicians, and pushes for appropriate action where necessary.

Paul Burns has been with the CGA since day one. He helped established the organization back in 2005, and has occupied the position of Vice President since 2015. According to a press release on Friday, Mr. Burns will take over the highest position, replacing William ‘Bill’ Rutsey as the CGA’s new President and CEO.

“Paul is a world-class gaming executive with a wealth of knowledge about the Canadian gaming industry,” says CGA Board Chairman Robert Parente. “He brings outstanding leadership to this association and possesses the vision and skill that the Board requires to advance the CGA over the years to come.”

No stranger to the business, Mr. Burns says he’s ready to take on the new leadership role.

“The strength of Canadian gaming is well known, and I have been fortunate to experience both the challenges and opportunities that come with working in this industry. Twenty years in gaming have given me a keen understanding of what our industry is facing as I take over as of President and CEO of the CGA. I look forward to working with Bob and the other directors to implement a strategic plan that will function as a roadmap for the association and make us better partners to our members.”

Will Burns Lobby for Single Sports Betting in Canada?

This is among one of the most prominent issues facing Canada’s gaming industry today. A few years ago, the CGA threw its support behind Bill C-221, The Safe & Regulated Sports Act. That piece of legislation would have made it legal for a province to regulate “betting on a race or fight or on a single sport event or athletic contest.

In late 2016, the bill was defeated. No similar proposal has risen since.

The CGA’s response to the bill’s defeat was one of sheer disappointment. Their goal was not to expand gambling in Canada, as some politicians thought, but to eradicate the proliferation of illegal single-event sports betting via organized crime units.

“Those who understand what is at risk, and the benefits that could exist by implementing regulation, are frustrated and dissatisfied by the vote,” said then-CEO Mr. Rutsey in 2016. “The scales of justice are badly misaligned where this issue is concerned, and I remain baffled that the Government of Canada can’t recognize it too.”

No doubt, the new CEO continues to support the CGA’s view on the matter. But will he make any solid attempt to renew lobbying efforts for the legalization of single sports betting in Canada? That remains to be seen.

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