|Provincial governments in Canada are flush from the revenue flooding in from the growth of the gambling industry. Provinces are now making almost as much money from gambling as they are from cigarettes and alcohol combined, according to the Canada West Foundation.|
The growth of gambling has seen traditional bingo halls and lotteries joined by casinos and video lottery terminals, as well as the growing online gaming industry.
Provincial governments are now benefiting from triple the revenue they had eight years ago, James Azmier, who carried out the study for the Canada West Foundation, expressed his surprise at the results.
“The big numbers are what grab you,” said Azmier. “$5.5 billion in profits for governments, almost as much money as from alcohol and tobacco combined.”
The newly affluent provinces are enjoying an economic boost from gambling, but are also receiving criticism for what some see as an irresponsible attitude towards the source of their new-found wealth.
John Kelly of the Responsible Gambling Council in Ontario says the government is not investing in any schemes of prevention or awareness concerning gambling
“There are kinds of awareness, advertising and messages out there and people go into schools (saying) ‘If you’re going to use alcohol use it carefully, drink responsibly.’ You don’t see that for gambling.”