|In Canada, the government is considering plans that would legalise sportsbetting for the eastern province of Ontario in order to boost casino revenues hit hard by the dwindling number of American tourists crossing the border to play. |
The provincial government is urging Ottawa to amend the Criminal Code of Canada in order to create casino sportsbooks, which would help venues in the areas around Windsor and Niagara Falls affected by increased border security instituted following the terrorist attacks in America. The province already permits Pro-Line, the Government-run system where bettors select the outcome of three or more sports contests on a parlay ticket, but the new arrangement would see punters able to wager on individual games.
Ontario casinos already have the infrastructure in place with television screens, scoreboards and seating and legalisation would give sites north of the border a major advantage over their American counterparts. According to the Toronto Star newspaper, sportsbetting in the US is only allowed in 150 Nevada casinos, which are thousands of miles away from most Americans.
'The tourism industry's very competitive as is the casino gaming industry today, so every amenity that you have within a casino theoretically will help benefit,' said Dwight Duncan, Finance Minister for Ontario.
'All of these various gaming opportunities are potential revenue sources but, again, the challenges we're facing at the border go beyond the mix of products within our casinos.'
Provincial gambling revenues are projected to decline to $1.77 billion this year from $2.02 billion in 2006 and Duncan revealed that the high Canadian dollar was also tough on Windsor and Niagara Falls.
'A properly regulated, trusted and professional sportsbook would help reduce the growing illegal sportsbetting taking place in Ontario and by Ontario residents on offshore and unregulated Internet sites,” said Tim Hudak, a Member of the Provincial Parliament.