Study Calls For Reducing Regulation On Canadian Gaming

Study Calls For Reducing Regulation On Canadian Gaming
Published: fri 2 oct 2020
The Fraser Institue, an independent Canadian public policy think-tank, asked policymakers to reduce regulation on the gaming industry. In their study, they detail how this move would help First Nations to generate more revenue and, therefor, improve living standards.

In their study, which they named Cartels and Casinos: First Nations’ Gaming in Canada, they propose three key reforms which would help the First Nations to increase their revenues from casinos. When First Nation communities open casinos near large cities and vacation resorts, their Community Well-Being scores, based on income, employment, education and housing data collected by Statistics Canada, rapidly rise.

But provincial gaming policies kept First Nation casinos in areas where they can’t grow and don’t contribute towards the economy as much. The study says:

In 1985, Parliament amended the Criminal Code to give the provinces jurisdiction over gambling, and the provinces have used their new jurisdiction to create cartels for their own profit, in which they are either the owners of licensed casinos or take a large share of the profit. First Nations challenged the provinces in court but lost. Hence, they have had to fit into the cartel system and take leftovers—with a few exceptions, casinos located far from the main action.
The study proposed a number of reforms to help the situation.

  • An amendment to the Criminal Code to remove First Nation gaming from provincial oversight, this would pave the way for national regulation designed to increase gaming’s contribution to First Nation economic development.
  • The aforementioned "cartel" approach should be abandoned, and that moves should be made to permit First Nations greater access to lucrative urban and resort markets.

"Casinos with slot machines and table games are the most lucrative form of legalized gambling in Canada, yet due to provincial regulation, most First Nations see a relatively small percentage of gaming revenue", said Tom Flanagan, Fraser Institute senior fellow and author of Cartels and Casinos: First Nations’ Gaming in Canada.

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