In Canada, a sport betting is a ‘grey’ zone. Neither it is fully acceptable nor is it a complete taboo. Gambling, if we speak on moral grounds, is certainly not an ethical practice. It certainly is responsible for destruction of peace and solidarity in homes and is one of the biggest home-breakers. It is hated because of the evil effects it imposes on the people involved in it and also on those depending upon the gamblers. Thus, some Governments have tightened their noose on the gamblers who are avoiding the regulations and thus, making money by playing with the lives of the people.
Legal or illegal – the living in constant fear is hell
So, the biggest challenge that any Canadian Bookmaker faces is that of acceptance. The bookmakers are living under constant fear of getting caught and their cases presented in a misinformed manner. Canadian rules on sport betting are strict making the business tougher for the bookmakers.
Single game Vs Parlay – survival is surely a challenge
One of the most stringent rules laid by the government is that the gamblers cannot put wagers on single games; parlays are considered legal. Parlay means that a combination of at least two games should be chosen to speculate the outcome. Gamblers feel that parlays are more difficult to crack and therefore, their chances of winning money are very poor. If the outcome of even a single game out of the two is wrong, the bettor loses money. Thus, one of the biggest challenges faced by a Canadian bookmaker is to entice people into sports betting and further convince them to go for parlay.
Better payoffs available with offsite bookmakers
Parlays from offsite bookmakers offer six times the betting amount. This luxury is not available with Canadian bookmakers. They can only pay off only within the approved limits and thus, face severe competition from the UK or US bookmakers where gambling is a regulated sector and the money of the bettors is more secured. So, bookmakers in Canada have nothing to retain their customers who are siphoning off a large volume of money to the foreign punters in the hope of better returns.
To understand the situation better, let’s take an example of a point spread game that is quite popular amongst Canadian gamblers. This game offers $250 when played with Canadian punter, while the same game payoffs are $300 at a trending offshore bookie site. So, this level of competition is surely a thing of concern amongst Canadian bookies.
Online gambling sites – No one can beat them!
Another challenge is the prevalence of online gambling sites. Online gambling sites allow the betting enthusiasts to try their luck in foreign games happening in other countries too. Payment terms are made easy and the whole system is ultra-transparent and full of opportunities. Gamblers feel they have ample of avenues to try their luck on and that they can enjoy better control over their money, and also over the gambling conditions. Thus, online bookmakers are also a threat to Canadian bookmakers whose activities are anyways under a scanner constantly.
Poor offering as compared to offsite bookies
Due to regulatory constraints, the products available with Canadian bookies fail to meet international standards. They are not able to offer what is waiting for the bettors on an offshore site. Statistically speaking, this has caused a movement of huge money amounting to $4bn from Canadian gamblers to offshore site owners, whereas only around $500mn is the amount that has reached provincial bookies.
A silver line for Canadian bookies
Brian Masse, an NDP MP has taken a stand in favor of Canadian punters. Due to his efforts, a bill that would allow single game wagers is on the table. Once inked, the Canadian Government would give it a regulatory garb and would also earn taxes from it. Looking at the potential of huge market that is slipping out of hands only due to the absence of a regulatory framework, it is high time the Government of Canada should take some steps like US has done in the past.
Currently, only casino style games are available for betting on a regulated site called PlayOLG. Once the bill is approved, it would open avenues for bettors to put wagers on other sports too. Thus, thinking of ways to improve the offering and the quality of products offered is the next thing that would follow the regulating step. It is said that provincial lottery owners have huge potential for creating revenues that can be directed in the future towards healthcare and human welfare activities. Thus, passing the bill is going to give the punters the much needed support that was missing till now.
So, there is light at the end of the tunnel. And the first green signal of better days is going to come in the form of single game gambling which is no less than a hot cake amongst bettors. The sooner the calls to act are taken, better for the Canadian gambling industry!