Betting on sports in the United States and Canada
While Canada’s government today acts mainly on cryptocurrencies and does little about online sports betting, its neighbor to the south is working hard to curb what has grown into a multi-billion dollar business.
This article looks at how one of North America’s largest governments regulates the industry compared to Canada’s non-interference policy. As for other countries, for example, casinos in India have their own set boundaries. Casinos can be legal only in certain lands with the most significant tourist influx, like Sri Lanka and the GOA.
Countries in Europe, like Germany and Italy, allow such gambling entertainment. The only problem is that a license in these countries is extremely difficult. On the one hand, it is safe for the players, but on the other hand, it is a great difficulty for business.
Betting in the U.S.: first steps
The U.S. addressed the issue of sports gambling more than a decade ago during the online poker boom after casino operators in Nevada – the only state where sports betting was fully legalized – realized how much revenue was going to foreign gambling sites. Oregon, Delaware, and Montana later joined in.
Under intense lobbying from gambling industry representatives, Congress acted swiftly and, in 2016, issued the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), banning the acceptance of payments from online gambling in states where gambling is illegal.
Congress made sure that the law covers businesses they can control – banks and other companies that process customer payments on gambling sites.
Congress controlled foreign sites by limiting itself to keeping order on its turf.”
But this did not take away the ability of Americans to participate in online gambling, which, under the laws, was not considered a crime from the betting standpoint (as in Canada, no American gambler was prosecuted for betting on foreign sites). As a result, many foreign resources stopped serving American customers, but others continued. In addition, savvy gamblers took advantage of workarounds such as proxy servers and third-party payment companies that allowed bettors to fund their accounts by acting as an intermediary between customers and their banks. The result, according to analysts, was billions of dollars in annual currency outflows from the country.
In a column by New York Times commentator Commissioner Adam Silver reported that he estimates that $400 billion is collected from illegal sports betting in the United States each year, indicating that Americans apparently crave a safe and legal way to bet on sports.
The NBA’s stance
Recognition of this reality has prompted the U.S. to push the boundaries of full legalization of sports betting outside of Nevada. In addition, limited forms of sports gambling are legal in Delaware and Montana, which offer games regulated by state lotteries.
In 2014, New Jersey advanced legislation to allow sports betting in the state, an attempt to support the declining casino and horse racing industry. Such action challenged a 1992 federal statute that banned state-supported sports betting except in the states of Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana, where the activity originated.
Meanwhile, all four major sports leagues in North America and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which oversees college sports in the United States, opposed the law’s repeal.
However, the National Basketball Association (NBA) also wanted to be involved. It has long continued to oppose New Jersey’s actions. Still, it is the only one among the four leagues to acknowledge loudly that billions of Americans gamble on sports and cry out for change.
Betting in the United States today
Commissioner Silver has been one of the driving forces for change. He has repeatedly asked Congress to “pass a federal framework that would authorize betting in professional sports, prescribe strict regulatory requirements and technical security measures.”
As a result of lobbying, in May 2018, U.S. lawmakers repealed the law banning sports betting. With this decision began a new era for the American betting market. With it also started the active development of the online gambling sector in the states.
In the process of extensive regulation, lawmakers decided that each state would regulate sports gambling independently.
Several American states, including West Virginia, New Jersey, etc., have legalized sports betting. According to experts, this should end the state’s outflow of billions of dollars of foreign currency.
Canada is in no hurry to respond.
Such zeal for change has no place in Canada, where an estimated $4 billion yearly is generated from betting through offshore sports bookmakers.
A few provinces at the moment, namely:
- Ontario and British Columbia allow sports gambling through lottery companies, enable online gambling, and have land-based gambling facilities.
In most Canadian cities, however, bettors are restricted from betting, where they must correctly guess the outcome of various games. Provincial lotteries also offer lower payouts on these bets than offshore sites.
In 2016, a bill in Ottawa would have allowed betting on specific games and generally empowered operators and players.
However, the Liberal government said it was going to reject the bill.
For the government to implement this idea, we need to state that we need to protect society and generate more revenue. To achieve that, we need to step up and regulate sports betting. Lottery corporations remain competitive at least as long as they have a monopoly because now they cannot fully compete with foreign sports bookmakers.
According to experts, there is another way to bring Canada’s gambling business out of the shadows. It was to end the monopoly of the provincial lotteries and introduce a licensing system in which private betting companies could operate and would be regulated by the state.
Situation to date.
Until now, gambling is still illegal in Canada. And the scheme, gambling houses and betting offices operate under the guise of lotteries. It is easily accomplished thanks to the law, which allows Canadian provinces to organize “lotteries.” However, because the letter of the law does not spell out what these lotteries should be, various forms of gambling businesses operate in the country.
At the same time, given that the Royal Corporation often acts as the operator of online gambling, we can say that the government has a monopoly on online gambling in the country. Since 2016, the authorities have tried to impose restrictions on access to illegal websites. However, in 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that an attempt by local authorities to force Internet service providers to block access to online gambling sites was unconstitutional.