Should the Deep South Follow the Canadian Gambling Model?
Canada is a great example of a nation that has benefited from relaxed online gambling laws and regulations. As a result, locals are now able to join the action with online roulette offered at Party Casino and other global sites. In general, laws and regulations differ throughout the country’s 10 provinces and three territories, but most forms of gambling have been permitted across the country since 1969 when the criminal code was changed to legalize regulated lotteries for residents and visitors.
However, if one flies to the Deep South of the United States to states like Texas, a game of Texas Hold Em’ could get one in trouble with the police. Betting on games of chance is prohibited, such as blackjack, roulette or any form of online gambling. One can legally bet on greyhound dog racing and horse racing though. Having these restrictions on online gambling and games of chance arguably causes a shortfall for the economy in the Deep South. Not only do the laws prevent casinos from opening in great cities such as Dallas, but other businesses and communities are missing out on the revenue that tourism and gamers would bring. Texas should see a preview of the possibilities here, as almost $400 million was spent at Texas racetracks in 2017. The tax revenue gained from racetrack revenues was used to invest in schools, hospitals and transport.
Any American living in the Deep South will have to catch a plane to Oklahoma or Las Vegas if they want a game of blackjack or a go at poker. Make no mistake, many Southerners choose to do this, which means the South is missing out when these people could spend their hard-earned money playing online at home. These same geographical limitations apply to online gambling as well. Players in the South have to literally be in a more northernly state if they want to access the exciting world of online slots and live casino tables. The $400 million mentioned previously is almost a pittance compared to the profits that the South is missing out on when it comes to online gambling. The global gambling market is worth more than $500 billion, and Texas is the biggest state in the U.S.
Analyzing the Canadian model would be a good idea for the Southern states. It is a perfect example of how relaxed gambling laws have had a positive benefit on the economy. The South is often criticized for being backward and holding onto old values that aren’t compatible in the modern era. Is this a fair reflection of what we see with gambling laws? Lawmakers would argue that gambling can cause individuals huge problems, and they use this as a safety net. Others would argue that these anti-gambling laws clash with individual freedom and that if gambling is done responsibly while taking reputable advice on how to bet, it can be quite entertaining.
Undeniably, these states are missing out on massive revenues that could be used to increase wealth in the region and benefit public services.
Photo Nicu Buculei from Flickr Creative Commons.