Expert says Single-Game Betting will come to Canada via “Trickle Effect”

ULeth Prof. says Canada single-game sports betting law will broaden.

Dr. Robert Wood says Canada single-game sports betting law will come to passDr. Robert Wood has an academic resume a mile long. After earning a B.A. (Hons), M.A. and Ph.D in Sociology, he went on to become a Professor of Sociology, and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.

According to his auto-biographical profile on the ULeth website, Dr. Wood says for the last 15 years:

…my research activity has been situated predominantly in the area of problem gambling, with particular foci on Internet gambling, problem gambling revenue, the socio-cultural aspects of problem gambling, prevention of problem gambling, and public policies related to gambling in contemporary society.”

In a recent report, Dr. Wood shares his expertise on single-game betting on sports, and how the “trickle effect” will see the Canadian government legalize this multi-billion dollar industry.

Canada Single-Game Sports Betting Law will Broaden

Wood admits that Canada’s gambling laws are already lenient. We have land-based and online casinos, poker, bingo, lotteries, and—to a limited degree—sports wagering. However, the Pro-Line and Sport Select products currently available are more restrictive than most bettors would like. Wagers must be placed as parlays, selecting the outcomes of multiple events, as opposed to single-event betting.

To the south, sports betting has been wholly illegal in all states except Nevada for more than two and a half decades. The US Supreme Court overturned that law last month, opening the levy for a flood of legal sports betting across the country.

This action brought about the biggest question in the history of Canadian gambling laws since the inception of provincial lotteries in 1969…

Will Single-Game Betting Become Legal in Canada?

Live, Online and Mobile Single-Game Betting on Sports in CanadaDr. Wood certainly believes so. “I’d be surprised if if we don’t follow suit,” he says. “There is often a trickle effect associated with gambling. The fact that it will be legal in the U.S. is going to make it pretty hard for us to maintain it as an illegal form here.”

He argues that the stigma that once surrounded gambling, and even online gambling, no longer exists in Canada. Betting on single events is something that already takes place on a widespread basis in the country—or more appropriately, outside the country.

An estimated $4 billion is wagered annually by Canadians through offshore websites; which are, for the record, not illegal to access. Sources indicate as much as $10 billion more is bet each year through organized crime.

“You’re trying to regulate something that many people want to do and something that, for most people, is not that morally contentious anymore,” says the Professor.

Legalizing Single-Game Betting Won’t Solve Everything

“Even if the government legalizes sports betting, it doesn’t mean you’re going to stop all illegal gambling,” he continues. In his expert onion, it is largely dependent “on the quality of the product”, as has been proven already by existing online gambling websites.

“Some countries have regulated online gambling in order to minimize the outflow of cash, but the product they offer isn’t very desirable,” he says. “The games aren’t what gamblers want to play and ultimately it fails.”

Thus, if and when Canada does broaden its sports betting laws to include single-event wagers, provinces will need to take the extra step to provide a product that genuinely appeals to Canadian punters. Otherwise, billions of dollars will continue to flow offshore, and into the hands of criminal organizations.

The Social Effects of Legalization

Being an expert on the social aspect of gambling and addiction, Dr. Wood’s opinion is highly valuable in this regard. One of the major arguments against legalization is that it will proliferate problem gambling. Professor Wood disagrees.

“There’s always going to be a social cost to gambling,” he says. “There’s a small proportion of the population that becomes addicted to gambling or develops some sort of severe form of problem gambling and that’s always going to be the case, whether it is legal or illegal.”

He believes the determining factor will be the government’s willingness to reinvest “enough of the gambling revenue in a way that’s going to minimize the harm.” Unfortunately, Dr. Wood doesn’t believe Canada’s politicians have been very effective in that department.

“For the government, it comes down to revenue,” he says. As of now, the lack of a Canada single-game sports betting law is a missed opportunity. “It’s just lost revenue that could be used to fund any number of positive social initiatives, and to treat gambling problems that already pose a cost to our health-care system.”

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