Weighing the cost of expansion in live and online gambling in Canada.
It’s rather phenomenal how fast the online gambling industry has expanded in just two decades time. Like a sports car spinning 0 to 60 in two seconds flat, iGaming went from one of the world’s least trusted industries in the late 1990’s, to the world’s second most profitable eCommerce (behind adult entertainment, of course).
It was an industry with fantastic potential, giving gambling enthusiasts all over the world an opportunity to partake in the same casino games they know and love in land-based gaming halls, via desktop computers and, eventually, mobile smartphones and tablet devices. All it needed was the right level of security and regulation, and the rest was history.
Expansion of Live and Online Gambling in Canada a Societal Boon or Bane?
Gambling isn’t your average sort of eCommerce. Where auction sites like eBay and online shopping apps like Amazon gave consumers access to more choices and competitive price comparison, online casino sites opened the door wide to the proliferation of societal harm. At the same time, gambling expansion presents beneficial opportunities for society to grow.
So which is it, a boon or bane? The truth is, it’s both. The real question is whether the two sides of the coin balance each other out, or does one side outshines the other?
The Negative Social Costs
The predominant argument told is that more gambling inevitably translates to more problem gambling. That’s a hard point to contradict. And while there are treatment programs to counter the negative social harms, prevention is, and has always been, the primary goal.
On the plus side, the revenue generated from Canada’s live and online gaming sites contributes largely to the funding of prevention and treatment programs. In this regard, it can be seen as a never ending cycle, contributing to the degeneration and subsequent healing of a society.
The Positive Social Benefits
In the opposite end of that coin, the gaming industry in Canada employs thousands. Each expansion of live and online gaming opens more job opportunities. It creates major, long term contracts for construction crews, both in building and renovating casinos, and extending roadways to keep traffic flowing. But this isn’t the only economic benefit of gaming – not by a long shot.
Supplemental Tax Revenue
The gambling revenue generated by live and online casinos in Canada is significant, hitting the multi-billion range every year in province’s where such activities are regulated. Including lotteries, British Columbia harvested $1.9 billion in net revenues in the last fiscal year ending March 31, 2019. That’s money that goes directly back into the province, paying for education, hospitals, youth programs, local community projects and more.
Canadians enjoy all of the perks of what gambling helps to finance. Not only are they reaping the benefits of what that money produces, they aren’t having to pay for such services and programs out of their own pockets via higher taxes. As such, gambling revenue is by far the biggest advantage for all, and the reason so many governments have chosen legalization and expansion as the best plan of action to fill their coffers.