There are generally two types of sports pools; those licensed by provincial governments and run by charities as a fundraiser and those privately organized. Privatizing the Gaming Industry-is it in the Cards? Paper presented at the 2008 Canadian Gaming Summit-Legal and Regulatory Program, Montreal, PQ.

The tie possibility in Pro-Line provides lottery corporations with a powerful edge over the player, because the odds against successfully completing the parlay increase dramatically. (2008). International Gambling Studies, 1(1), 103-134.

Osborne, J. The purpose of the pilot project was to determine the viability of the sports lottery scheme; that is, its appeal to sports fans, the comprehensibility of the format, and to what extent, if any, there was public opposition. Burlington, MA: Academic Press.

* Social networks-players enjoy the competition, bantering and camaraderie among league members and often develop enduring friendships based on their fantasy league involvement.

* In the fall of 1982 Loto-Quebec launched Hockey-Select, the first game based on predicting the outcome of sporting events. Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books.

Other popular legal sports betting formats in Canada are sports pools and fantasy sports leagues. The game, which offered one chance in 1,190 of winning $500, lacked public support and was quickly abandoned by Loto-Quebec.

Rombola, F. Notwithstanding the Criminal Code gambling provisions, the Kahnawake First Nation near Montreal, claiming jurisdiction as a “sovereign nation,” has been leasing server space to Internet gambling operations since 1999 and making a profit of $2 million annually. In theory, this proposed change would be welcomed by avid sports bettors because it should result in more appealing betting opportunities and better payouts on winning bets. Paley, R. Prizes were allotted based on the horses’ order of finish. The sports most likely to attract fantasy league wagering are major league baseball, the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and to a lesser extent the National Hockey League (NHL). Jackson, D. (1984). (2002). Hockey-Select was removed from the market in the spring of 1983 after sales dropped to less than $20,000 per week.

Ostensibly, the availability of single event sports betting would bolster casino attendance by drawing more American players (single event sports betting is illegal in every American state except Nevada) and Canadian players who have become disillusioned with the Sport Select game. Smith, D. Excel required players to pick the winners of fifteen NHL games; for making the correct choices winners received $1,000 on a $2 bet. Moreover, any gambling format offered on the Internet would have to be legal in Canada, thus eliminating single event sports betting-a popular form of online gambling that is illegal in Canada (Lipton, 2002).

* The Canadian Sports Pool Corporation, created by the federal government in the fall of 1983, began offering a game called Sport Select Baseball in May, 1984. This arbitrary limit on payouts cushions lottery corporations from excessive losses.

Up until the early 2000s the prevalence of Internet gambling in the general population was well below 2%; however the most recent Canada-wide estimate is 2.3% (Wood, Williams Lawton, 2007). The Criminal Law Quarterly, 44(1), 108-126.

* % of population that has ever played (7%)

There is no way of accurately knowing how many Canadians partake in these activities; however, provincial studies of citizens’ gambling patterns and behaviors typically show that about 10% of the population report having bet on sports events in the previous year and 2% claim they do it on a weekly basis (Ipsos Reid, 2008). Reasons for this incongruity may include sports bettors (1) not trusting Internet gambling providers; (2) not knowing about the better odds and services offered by online sites; (3) not knowing or caring about Sport Select’s inferior odds and services or (4) preferring to play Sport Select because it is legal and offered by the provincial government.

Mantaris, A. (2004). Many of the formats higher on the payout percentage ladder (for example, bingo, electronic machine gambling and some casino games) are pure luck games, while sports betting supposedly allows for an element of skill (it is certainly marketed as though this was the case); however, with lottery corporations retaining 43% of the sports wagering dollar, no amount of skill can routinely neutralize the government’s advantage. west 21 east 14), those with the correct quarter or half time scores receive lesser prizes and the game winning score a larger prize. And, so far, there is no indication that the law is interested in penalizing Canadian sports bettors who utilize online services.

* Within the scaled-down vice/morality units, public pressure has dictated that prostitution and child pornography, rather than illegal gambling, be the main investigative targets.

Internet Sports Betting

Ontario gambling advocates (mainly border casino interests and politicians from those regions) are lobbying for single event sports betting. New Media Society, 9(3), 520-542.

As depicted in Table 5, all legal gambling formats are weighted against players “beating the house,” some, more so than others. Listed in Table 5 in descending order are the approximate payout percentages of popular Canadian legal gambling formats (the word approximate is used because payout percentages may vary somewhat by region).

Goldlist G. (2006). Over the years new games emerged such as Over/Under, Point Spread and Double Play and sports such as basketball, soccer, tennis, auto racing and golf were added to the betting menu.

Factors Affecting Prize Amounts and the Ability to Predict Game Outcomes

A common rationale for a government to legalize a new gambling format is that “it will reduce illegal gambling and will divert illegal gambling revenues into the public purse” (Smith Wynne, 1999, 17). a variety of sports lotteries were tried throughout the 1970s and 1980s but failed to attract sufficient public interest. Like all government sanctioned lottery schemes, the winners’ share of net revenues was miserly (48%); track and horse owners received 25%; leaving 27% for Loto Quebec. Report prepared for the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, Guelph, ON:

Morton, S. Despite the obvious drawbacks of parlay betting in general, the parlay payout percentages in Nevada are significantly better than those offered by Canadian sports lotteries. For example, a successful $10 bet on three games with odds of 2.50, 1.70 and 3.55 would produce a win of $150.90 (2.50 x 1.70 x 3.55 x 10). These changes led to the establishment of lotteries in every province and territory and a separate federal government lottery whose proceeds helped underwrite the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Except for raffles and 6/49 lotteries, Canadian sports lotteries keep the highest percentage of dollars wagered. (1983). (1999). Despite well trained staff and excellent resources (government paid salaries, vehicles, office space, etc.), JFOs are hard pressed to make a dent in bookmaking operations because of the sheer volume of activity; the bookmakers use of the latest communications technology; and the lack of strong deterrents (rarely is jail time given for illegal gambling offenses). Early gambling legislation centered on the prohibition of dice games, unlawful gaming houses and restricted participation in gambling by certain classes of people (e.g., artificers and servants) (Robinson, 1983).

6 correct pays 30 x wager

Smith, G. (1988). Unpublished LL.M thesis, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.


Sports betting pre-dated the arrival of Europeans in Canada as First Nation peoples wagered on the outcome of toboggan, snowshoe, and canoe races as well as archery, spear throwing and running events. The History of the Law of Gaming in Canada. Given the Kahnawake First Nation’s success with hosting online gambling, several other First Nations have shown interest in setting up similar operations (Rex Jackson, 2008).

In analyzing the variables that affect winning or losing in playing Canadian sports lotteries, some background information is provided on how the games are played. Since then, online gambling has become a major International industry featuring over 2,500 Internet websites and generating an estimated $12 billion in revenue in 2005 (Wood Williams, 2007a). and (4) access to appropriate technology (e.g., computer, the Internet, cell phone, BlackBerry), as much of the league business, is conducted via these media.

Pro-Line is more complicated to assess because of the three possible game results; game outcomes are weighted according to what lottery corporation odds makers think is their probability of occurrence. Harvey (2005) noted that bookmaking brings in mega dollars and estimated that “there are over 1,000 bookmakers operating in Toronto alone.” Because of these factors, bookmaking in Canada is a low risk criminal activity.

One way to comprehend the overwhelming difficulty in succeeding in Canadian sports lottery play is to compare sports lottery payout percentages with other government sanctioned betting formats and other sports gambling outlets such as betting with an illegal bookmaker, a legal sports book in Nevada or an online bookmaker. Williams (Eds.). The Legalization of Gambling in Canada. Saskatoon, SK: Purich Publishing Limited.

Fantasy sports leagues are a new gambling format, but growing at a rapid rate (Bernhard Eade, 2005). In 1910 on-track betting at incorporated race tracks was permitted. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

The profit margin extracted by Canadian sports lotteries is extreme in comparison to that earned by legal and illegal bookmakers. In addition to providing more favorable payout percentages, bookmakers are able to provide client services that are unmatched by government run sports lotteries, such as extending credit, telephone wagering, individual game bets, future and proposition bets. Obviously the odds of winning are poor and the games usually entirely luck based. an Analysis of Internet Gambling and Its Policy Implications. (1968). The Clean Sweep: The Story of the Irish Hospitals Sweepstake. This mind set facilitated the practice of sports betting through bookmakers. Lagging sales of the Excel game caused Western Canada Lottery Corporation officials to terminate the game in March of 1991. This was a new game to the extent that, in theory, player knowledge could improve one’s chances for success. (2007). Of those who reported gambling on the Internet, only 6.2% said that sports betting was their preferred game (Wood Williams, 2007b). (1989). Betting on a sports event by itself was not a crime as long as a betting transaction fee was not charged; the activity was however, illegal, if done through a bookmaker.

* In a time of fiscal cutbacks, law enforcement agencies have placed a lower priority on what are perceived to be minor crimes and this policy has caused a reduction in resources for the vice or morality details that deal with illegal gambling.

Campbell, C., Hartnagel, T. It was not until 1990 that a workable sports lottery formula was devised. The three possible outcomes substantially decreases the amount of skill that can be applied to forecasting game results, thus relegating the selection exercise close to the realm of pure luck.

Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. Illegal sports betting flourished because it was seen as a traditional part of male sporting culture and the police and judiciary generally treated bookmaking as a petty vice that warranted only a minor penalty.

Casino games (not including slot machines) 78% **

Reizner, S. This would be a tall order given that Canada is already near the gambling saturation point in the minds of many citizens; while perhaps feasible in Ontario border communities, the idea is unlikely to have the same traction in the rest of the country; and there could be objections from Canadian professional sports teams who would want compensation for the use of their logos and schedules.

Gross Sales % returned as prizes

Many Canadian law enforcement agencies have adopted a policy of benign prohibition toward bookmaking because:

10/12 correct pays 5 x wager

Belanger, Y. The 1985 amendment created provincial monopolies over gambling and led to widespread profusion of the activity (Brodeur Oullet, 2004). To win, all selections must be correct.

## NHL lockout in 2004/2005 decreased betting volume

* The broad expansion of legal gambling formats has dissolved public moral sanctions against bookmaking and made Canadians largely indifferent to the activity.

** (In the case of casinos, each game has different odds; for example, certain blackjack, craps, roulette or baccarat bets have a smaller house edge than do games such as three card or Caribbean poker).

649 type lotteries 45%

Williams, R. Typical parlay bet payouts in Nevada are 6 to 1 on three games, 11 to 1 on four games, 20 to 1 on five games and 500 to 1 on ten games (Manteris, 1991).

Horse racing 80% *

The Internet was first used by the general public for the business of gambling in 1995, when lottery tickets were sold for the International Lottery in Liechtenstein (Williams Wood, 2007a). These services, which are valued by sports gamblers, are not offered by government run sports lotteries. Sports betting accounted for more than half of Internet gambling profits in 2001 (American Gaming Association, 2006). all bets are placed at the same time” [Reizner Mendelsohn, 1983].

Ironically, parlay betting in Nevada is considered a “sucker play” for two reasons (Rombola, 1984; Manteris, 1991): (1) the poor payout percentages offered compared with individual game bets and (2) the fact that players can win a majority of their picks and still lose; for example, a player who selects four teams correctly in a five game parlay has an 80% win ratio but still loses the bet. Patrick (2000) contended that the 1985 amendment allowed the provinces to purchase their gambling monopolies for a $100 million payment to the federal government.

Ipsos Reid Public Affairs, Gemini Research. Sports Betting 101. (1970). Typical of these private games are National Football League (NFL) pools and National Hockey League (NHL) play-off drafts: In both instances an entry fee is charged; in an NFL pool players try to pick the winners of each weekends slate of games against a posted point spread, with money paid out to weekly and year end winners. Scott, M. In 1938 an estimated “one-third of Toron–tonians bought Irish Sweepstakes tickets, priced between $2.50 and $3.00 each” (Morton, 2003, 54). The game was offered in a few strategic locations (major malls in urban centres) and contestants played for free, but could win lottery corporation merchandise such as sports bags, hats and T-shirts. Also, because of the expansive way that ties are defined; for example, a tie in football is any result decided by three points or less, either way; whereas a tie in basketball is any result decided by five points or less, either way. In the first instance, because many tickets or pool sheets are sold, prizes are large, even though the charity takes a hefty bite (usually at least 50%) of the proceeds. Gambling and Crime in Western Canada: Exploring Myth and Reality. (1986). The only changes pertaining to sports betting involved horse racing and occurred in the early 1900s; for example, in 1909-10 a Special Committee of the House of Commons was established to inquire into the feasibility of legalizing horse race betting. Following is a time-line of government sanctioned sports lotteries:

Future Prospects for Canadian Sports Betting

British and French interests collided as a result of fur trade competition and, exacerbated by the Seven Year’s War in Europe, hostilities in Canada between English and French colonials culminated with a British victory in the 1759 Plains of Abraham battle. Based on the most recent Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission data, the following two tables show player demographics and sports lottery sales trends over the last four years. In 1917 an Order-in-Council suspended horse race betting on the grounds that it was incommensurate with the war effort. However, since only 45% of the wagering pool was paid out in first, second and third prizes to players who had correctly chosen the results of 11 to 13 games, the effect of player skill was negligible. For example, Nevada’s legal sportsbooks make do on a profit margin of about 5%, while the commission for illegal bookmakers and Internet sports betting operations typically ranges between 5% and 10%. Not only were these contests forms of entertainment for the spectator/bettors, they were a way to sharpen essential survival skills (Belanger, 2006).

Payout Percentages of Legal Gambling Formats

The potential downsides to fantasy sports league participation include: (1) a major commitment of time and money (seasons last for six or more months and devoted players spend hours poring over box scores, watching games on TV and contemplating trade possibilities; activities that can detract from family life and work productivity).(2) While fantasy sports leaguers rarely become problem gamblers, many become jaded about professional sports; for example showing disdain for underperforming players and (in their minds) biased referees and not caring about the final result of a game, only the numbers generated by their players.

* Age of players (18-24=18%), (25-34=27%), (35-44=23%), (45-54=17%), (55-64=5%), (65+=2%)

Pearson, C. It is important to note that the 43% hold percentage is based on sports lottery play over an entire year and does not mean that consumers face these onerous odds on every bet.

11 correct pays 400 x wager

* Loto-Quebec introduced hockey pools in 1981-82, despite protests from the National Hockey League claiming unauthorized use of the league’s copyrighted logo, schedule and team names. Lem Banker’s Book of Sports Betting. (2005). Common features of these leagues are (1) a sizable entry fee, (2) a draft, whereby players from the real leagues are selected to make up a participant’s fantasy team, (3) a Commissioner to administer the league rules, settle disputes, arrange for league standings to be posted, etc. (1990). (2003). Problem gambling on the Internet: Implications for Internet gambling policy in North America. Payout percentage is the ratio of the amount paid out in prizes compared with the total amount wagered. The market penetration of sports lotteries is limited to the extent that between 2.4% and 6% of the adult population (depending on the province) played a Canadian sports lottery in the previous year and the games attract mainly 18 to 44 year old males (Canadian Gambling Digest, 2003-2004). (2005) Member of the Ontario Joint Forces Illegal Gambling Unit, personal interview, Feb. And, because horseracing is under federal jurisdiction, Canadian racetracks are allowed to accept bets placed online. Local distributors sold the contraband tickets smuggled in from Ireland for a commission of two free tickets for every twelve sold (Webb, 1968). (2008). (1983). If any bet loses, the player gets no return. However, if run or licensed by a government (federal or provincial), parlay or pool style sports betting was considered a lottery product and thus permissible. (2006). (1998). Sport Select Baseball produced only one winner and ran a $45 million deficit (Labrosse, 1985).

# Double Play game introduced in Feb. Research and Measurement Issues in Gambling Studies. In G. Despite the radical shift from federal to provincial government authority over gambling, there was no public consultation on the matter; indeed, the lotteries bill was expedited through parliament (Osborne, 1989; Goldlist Clements, 2008). (1992). This was a pure luck game because neither the horses in the field nor the numbers they wore in the race were known to bettors in advance; in a ten horse field there are 5,040 possible permutations. Started in 1930 and run three times annually, the Irish Sweepstakes was in effect, a lottery featuring two draws; round one involved a selection of the fortunate few who moved on to round two whereby the remaining ticket numbers were matched with a horse running in the Irish Sweeps Derby. Sovereignty over Canada was claimed by England in 1553 despite the existence of “New France” communities. The options for internet gambling in Canada. These are units made up provincial and municipal police (Ontario) or government regulators, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and municipal police (Alberta) that specialize in illegal gambling enforcement. Provincial governments can operate computer-based lottery schemes (this includes Internet gambling) but cannot license others to do so and cannot take bets from out of province residents unless the other province permits it. The sports gambler profile from the most recent study in British Columbia is that of a younger (under the age of 35) male, who is somewhat more likely than the average British Columbian to be a problem gambler (Ipsos Reid, 2008).

The only legal forms of sports betting in Canada up until the early 1970s were horse racing, friendly wagers on the outcome of popular athletic events such as boxing matches, hockey or football games or on ones self in games of physical skill such as pool, golf, bowling and darts. For example, the odds of winning a two game parlay (in a 50/50 betting proposition) are one in four (1/2 x 1/2), yet the official payout is only twice the wager; in effect, an exorbitant fee is charged the consumer to play the game. Most leagues allow for injured players to be replaced and permit player trades.

Table 2

Smith, G. 2004

10/11 correct pays 15 x wager

The history of Canadian gambling legislation can be separated into three relatively distinct eras: the colonial period (1497-1867), Confederation to modern times (1867-1969) and gambling expansion (1970-present).

Privately organized pools are legal providing the entire entry fee funds are paid back to winning bettors and no money is charged for a handling or administration fee. 23.

COPYRIGHT 2009 ASSER International Sports Law Centre

No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.

Video lottery terminals/slot machines 70%

Based on the previously outlined rules, the contents of Table 4 demonstrate why the odds against winning these games are so formidable and why sports knowledge is not enough to regularly overcome these unfair odds. Smith, G. Responsible Gaming Council, Toronto, ON.

Wood, R. Robinson, R. Journal of Gambling Studies, 8(4), 331-349.

Campbell, C. Super Bookie: Inside Las Vegas Sports Gambling. (2005). In other words, if the aggregate win exceeds these amounts, winners receive a lower than expected pro-rated payout. pool halls, taverns, barber shops); (2) their interest in sports or race horses, ostensibly gave them a degree of expertise in picking winners (Morton, 2003); and (3) sports betting was seen as a test of character; that is, a sphere of activity where valued masculine traits such as decision making, boldness and ‘coolness’ could be displayed (Lyman Scott, 1970; Smith Paley, 2001).

Despite these significant amendments to the Criminal Code gambling provisions, the law against bookmaking remained intact. Comartin lobbies to legalize Las Vegas-style sports gambling. This is a surprising finding given that Internet sports gambling sites offer much better odds and services (e.g., single event sports betting, proposition bets and higher maximum bets) than the legal Sport Select game discussed earlier, and is legal, whereas betting with a local bookmaker is not. The odds for each outcome are posted on the game list and the expected prize amount for a winning bet is shown on the purchased ticket. Hodgins R. Gambling With the Future: The Evolution of Aboriginal Gaming in Canada. Most First Nation games as well as any form of wagering by indigenous peoples were outlawed.

5 correct pays 15 x wager

10 correct pays 200 x wager

Understanding Canadian Sports Lotteries

The main opposition to sports betting in this era came from antigambling moralists; the wives of players who lost their pay cheques and thus could not support their families; employers who saw sports gambling as a distraction that lowered job productivity; and, for brief periods, the general public, whenever a scandal broke that involved bookmakers bribing police, politicians or public officials (Morton, 2003).

Gambling expansion–in 1969 an omnibus bill passed in parliament that that amended several sections of the Criminal Code; including legalizing lottery schemes and permitting charity sponsored gambling under provincial license (Campbell Smith, 1998). http://www.gaminglawmasters.com/jurisdictions/canada/inet_canada.html

Banker, L. This game proved to be a dismal failure, likely because players soon realized that the odds of successfully completing a fifteen game parlay were astronomically higher than the meager payouts warranted. Criminal Code gambling provisions dealt with definitions of a “common gaming house” and a “common betting house” and listed indictable offences for keeping a “disorderly house” (the term encompassed bawdy, gaming and betting houses); gambling in public conveyances; bookmaking; buying, selling and distributing lottery products; keeping a cock-pit; and cheating at play (Robinson, 1983). This has not been the case with the introduction of legal sports gambling in Canada, in fact, the opposite has occurred; bookmaking has proliferated and continues to be associated with organized crime activity that provides working capital that allows diversification into other criminal enterprises as well as legitimate businesses (Rosecrance, 1988).

3 correct pays 4 x wager

* Alberta Gaming Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

The Irish Sweepstakes was another popular, albeit outlawed, gambling format that involved buying tickets on the results of Irish horse races (prizes often exceeded $100,000), the proceeds of which went to support Irish hospitals. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

Facing Nevada sportsbook odds a player needs to win 52.38% of the time to break even against the standard 11 to 10 odds on individual game bets. a contentious and unresolved issue pertains to certain Canadian First Nation bands serving as hosting sites for all forms of online gambling. Wood, R. Although betting on sports with a bookmaker was illegal, it was a commonplace activity among young males in the larger urban centres (Morton, 2003).

Sports betting was almost exclusively a male preserve because (1) males had easy access to the public spaces where illegal gambling took place (e.g. Prizes are smaller in these games because there are fewer participants, but the odds of winning are better and there can be an element of skill involved. Internet gambling: Past, present, and future. http://www.american gaming.org/assets/files/studies/wpaper_internet_0531.pdf. No dice: Violations of the Criminal Code’s gambling exemptions by provincial governments. New York: E.P.Dutton.

At present, it is unclear whether Canadian courts have the legal authority to prosecute offshore Internet sports betting operations that cater to Canadian clients. (2007a). Again, all selections must be correct to win.

(1) a parlay is defined as “a bet on two or more teams whereby any money wagered and won on the first bet is placed on the second bet and, if there are more than two bets, that process is repeated on all bets. British Columbia Problem Gambling Prevalence Study, Vancouver, BC.

* (In the case of horse racing, straight win, place or show wagers offer better odds than do so-called exotic wagers (daily doubles, exactas, trifectas, perfectas, etc.).

* And, bookmaking investigations are prohibitive because of the unfavorable cost/benefit ratio; that is, the considerable time and manpower required to secure a gambling conviction is unwarranted when the judicial system penalties are so lenient.

by Garry J. (2007b). (1992). Williams, R. For each game played, bettors choose between three possible outcomes; (a) a home team win, (b) a visitor team win or (c) a tie (the definition of a tie varies depending on the sport). Ultimately, competition from the growth of International state lotteries caused the demise of the Irish Sweepstakes in the late 1980s.

Table 4

Harvey, B. Hockey-Select required bettors to forecast the results of thirteen hockey games played during one week, by picking the winning team or tied games. Las Vegas, NV: GBC Press.

Pull tickets 74%

9 correct pays 150 x wager

Pro-Line-players pick anywhere from 3 to 6 games from a game list (available through lottery ticket outlets, daily newspapers or lottery corporation websites), wagering a minimum of $2 to a maximum of $100 (the maximum bet allowed by some lottery corporations is only $25). (2008). Internet Gambling: a Comprehensive Review and Synthesis of the Literature. Sociology of Sport Journal, 7(3), 271-286.

Smith, G. The ensuing Quebec Act (1774) proscribed English criminal law and French civil law, thus initial Canadian gambling legislation was derived from English precedent but applied to Francophones as well. Governments face a dilemma in terms of responding to bookmaking; essentially they have three options (prohibit and strictly enforce, prohibit and loosely enforce or legalize); each creates its own set of social and public policy consequences (Smith, 1990).

Bernhard, B. Klein, F. Windsor Star, July 3, http//www.canada.com/windsorstar/story.html

4 correct pays 8 x wager

Canadian Gambling Digest. Las Vegas, NV: GBC Press.

Patrick, T. Gambling Without Guilt: The Legitimization of an American Pastime. It stipulated that for abandoning its lottery operations, the federal government would receive $100 million over three years to help fund the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics and an annual disbursement of $24 million (adjusted annually for inflation) from the provinces based on a proportion of lottery sales. Pro-Line was a more popular sports betting format as players could wager anywhere from $2 to $100 on the results of at least 3, and up to 6, professional sports events (Smith, 1992). (2008). UNLV Gaming Research Review Journal, 9(1), 29-46.

Lyman, S. (These figures are from one province, Alberta; however, it can reasonably be surmised that sports lottery data from the other provinces is not significantly different).

7 correct pays 50 x wager

After 1892, Canadian gambling legislation remained relatively constant for 75 years. The skill involved is in choosing players that will accumulate points and in picking players from teams that advance to the final round.

Another approach to monitoring illegal gambling in Canada has been the formation of joint forces operations (JFOs). The difficulty will be in getting provincial governments to provide a betting format that offers fair odds and consumer friendly services (Smith, 1990).

Webb, A. Players face a double bind, in that, the more games they wager on, the less likelihood of successfully completing the parlay and the more the payout diminishes in comparison to the true odds. Sociology of the Absurd. Both Canada’s Attorney General (Rex Jackson, (2008) and Quebec’s Minister of Public Security (Lipton, 2002) have called the Kahnawake operation illegal, yet no legal action has been taken. Most participants play because of the low cost and to support the charity, not because they are avid sports fans.


* In the winter of 1990 the Western Canada Lottery Corporation conducted a ten week pilot project with a game called Power Play which consisted of four separate contests based on the outcomes and scoring statistics of National Hockey League games (Smith, 1992). Pools, parlays and point spreads: a sociological consideration of the legalization of sports gambling. (2000). The Lottery from Jacques Cartier’s Day to Modern Times. Proponents of the idea, estimate that $700 million was wagered online by Canadians last year and that $100 million alone was bet on the Super Bowl in North America (Pearson, 2008).

8 correct pays 90 x wager

Wood, R. In the case of two outcome games (Point Spread and Over/Under), the payouts are much lower than what the true odds of winning the parlay (1) are. Most of the early Internet gambling sites were located offshore in Caribbean and Central American countries and not affiliated with established land-based gambling companies.

Bingo 65%

Table 3

* In 1971 Manitoba instituted a short-lived sports pool based on the results of NHL games.

Smith, G. (1991). Research paper prepared for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, K Division, Edmonton, AB.

The primary attractions of fantasy sports leagues as outlined by Bernhard and Eade (2005) include:

Sports lotteries 57%

Table 5

In addition to offering one-sided odds, lottery corporations impose payout limitations when the aggregate amount of prizes won on any day exceeds $2 million on Pro-Line or $1 million on Over/Under. Picking winners against the odds or a point spread is difficult enough by itself, let alone considering the possibility of ties. Described below are the basic rules for three of the more popular Canadian sports lottery formats:

Currently, Canadian sports lotteries make up a small portion of provincial government lottery proceeds (for example, in Alberta, sports lottery play accounts for only 8% of all lottery revenues). Williams, R. Participants in an NHL play-off draft select players from amongst the 16 play-off teams (usually 10 to 12 players) and the outcome is based on the NHL players scoring statistics. Canadian gambling trends and public policy issues. (2001). at Odds: Gambling Canadians 1919-1969. (1985). Harsh measures such as residential schools and the reserve system were designed to break down First Nation traditions. Because the population of early Canada was so sparse and scattered, legislation in general, let alone specific gambling laws was a low priority.

9/10 correct pays 10 x wager

Sports Lottery Sales and Payout Figures (province of Alberta)


* Gender of players (male 83%) (female 17%)

* In 1972 the Quebec quarte was launched; to win, the bettor had to choose race horses correctly either in order of finish (higher odds) or in any order (lower odds). Sports Betting with Sonny Reizner. a win ratio in the 58% to 60% range is considered excellent; nevertheless, despite the more rewarding Nevada odds, the point spreads and betting lines are so precise, that even under these circumstances, only a small percentage of those who try, can earn a livelihood through sports betting (Banker Klein, 1986).

Raffles 43%

Table 1

* Intellectual challenge-by knowing which of the many variables to attend to and which to discard, players can display their analytical prowess.

2 correct pays 2 x wager

Winners are those who accumulate the most points over the professional league season based upon certain statistical categories (for example, in football, touchdowns, pass receptions, rushing yards and so forth). Montreal, PQ.

What Exists Now

American Gaming Association. Similarly, when a tie game is part of a parlay bet, the tie game is removed from the parlay without penalty and the success or failure of the bet rests on the outcome of the remaining games (Lang, 1992, 21).

The problem with this proposal is that the Criminal Code of Canada would need amending and all provinces would have to agree with the change. All rights reserved.

The Canadian approach to gambling in the first half of the 20th century was characterized as “unofficial tolerance and official condemnation” (Morton, 2003). Wynne, H. Payout percentage is the key factor in determining the probability of beating a game in the long run. Par for the course: a study of gambling on the links and a commentary on physical skill-based gambling formats. Falling by the wayside in this process, were “historic gaming practices” which the federal government considered to be “illegal and immoral” (Belanger, 2006, 38). Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Company.

A second watershed Criminal Code amendment in 1985 formalized an agreement between the federal and provincial governments. Smith *

Rex, J. a report prepared for the Law Commission of Canada, Ottawa, ON.

Over/Under-is also a two outcome format (players choose whether the total score of both teams in an individual game will be over or under a posted number) and players choose from two up to 10 games. Prizes are awarded for all correct picks or for picking winners in 9 of 10, 10 of 11, 10 of 12 or 11 of 12 games. This game was dropped after several years because it achieved less than half the projected gross revenues of $1 million per week (Labrosse, 1985).

Confederation to Modern Times-Confederation occurred in 1867, however British gambling law still applied with several new twists, including:(1) lotteries being forbidden because they had fallen into disfavor in England, (2) the concept of amnesty for informers was introduced; to wit, “found ins” at an illegal gaming house could escape a criminal charge by testifying against the house keeper, and (3) the term “wager” was replaced by the word “bet” and the term “betting house” was introduced (Robinson, 1983).

The Indian Act of 1876 placed First Nations under federal government control for the purpose of their assimilation into the mainstream culture. The Book on Bookmaking. Initially, Sport Select offered consumers a choice of two games: Excel and Pro-Line. Waltham, MA: Romford Press.

Canadian law dictates that only provincial governments and licensed charities can run gambling operations. Eade, V. For example, a heavy favorite might be listed at odds of 1.10 (which would contribute minimally to the prize payout), whereas a serious underdog, listed at odds of 5.00 would significantly increase the prize payout, and, because ties occur less often than wins do, and are therefore harder to predict, the odds are typically higher on tie games.

* The success of Pro-Line in western Canada led other provincial and regional lottery corporations to introduce similar sports betting formats. a report prepared for the Canada West Foundation, Calgary, AB.

In Nevada sports books a tie game is an actual tie game (not several points either way) and considered a “wash” or a “push,” that is, players get their money back. Loto-Quebec, Stanke. Tickets are sold for $2 on the outcome of the game; each ticket lists a score (e.g. Although barred in Canada, Irish Sweepstakes tickets were bought by both males and females and members of all social strata. an example of a charity sponsored sports pool is a “Grey Cup” (the Canadian Football League championship game featuring the top teams from the east and west) raffle. Gambling in a fantasy world: an exploratory study of rotisserie baseball. Smith, G. Sucker bet or sure thing: a critical analysis of sports lotteries. Internet Gaming: a Look at Online Gambling in Canada. The Legal Status of Lottery Schemes in Canada. Annals of the American Academy of Political Social Science, 556, 22-35.

Point Spread-is a two outcome game (either a visiting or home team win against a posted point spread) whereby players can select between two and 12 games. These questions were apparently answered satisfactorily as a revised version of Power Play, named Sport Select, was introduced in October, 1990. Table 4 contains standard lottery corporation payouts on various parlay bets in comparison with the true odds of winning the parlay.

Illegal Sports Gambling

2 2 to 1 4 to 1

3 4 to 1 8 to 1

4 8 to 1 16 to 1

5 15 to 1 32 to 1

6 30 to 1 64 to 1

7 50 to 1 128 to 1

8 90 to 1 256 to 1

9 150 to 1 512 to 1

10 200 to 1 1,024 to 1

History of Legal Canadian Sports Lottery Schemes

# of games bet Lottery payout True odds

In 1892 the first Criminal Code of Canada codified existing criminal law, including crimes related to gambling. Mendelsohn, M. By the end of the 1970s, intense competition for lottery dollars spurred provincial lottery corporations to join forces in an effort to remove the federal government from the business.

Bookmaking flourishes in the present era of liberalized legal gambling because of a growing public tolerance for minor vices or so-called victim-less crimes and the fact illegal sports betting offers odds advantages vis-a-vis legal sports lotteries, superior service and convenience, and more attractive wagering propositions. AGA 10th Anniversary White Paper Series. Moreover, unlike Canadian sports lotteries, Nevada sportsbooks do not impose arbitrary loss limits to protect their profits.

Two Outcome Parlay Payouts Versus the True Odds

* The chance to win money-some leagues have hefty entrance fees and hence offer sizable pots to the winner.

The following observations can be made about these early gambling provisions: (1) Canadian gambling laws relied heavily on English statutes, some dating back as far as 1541 (Robinson, 1983); (2) gambling was clearly seen as a moral issue; and (3) despite official sanctions against gambling, the activity thrived.

Fiscal 2002=$37,422 (millions) 57%

Fiscal 2003=$41,831 57%

Fiscal 2004=$42,189 # 56%

Fiscal 2005=$32,216 ## 53%

Lipton, M. Clements, R. The American Review of Canadian Studies, 38(2), 222-234.

* Role-playing-the opportunity to vicariously participate as the general manager of a professional sports team.

Lang, A. at first, only NHL games were listed; however, Canadian and American pro football soon followed and major league baseball became part of the package in April, 1991.

11/12 correct pays 20 x wager

Sports Pools and Fantasy Sports Leagues

The Role of Skill and Luck in Canadian Sports Lottery Play

Sport Lottery Player Demographics

Table 3 indicates payout ratios for Point Spread bets according to the number of games played for baseball or hockey wagers and applies to Over/Under bets on two up to ten games:

Rosecrance, J. The prize amount is determined by three factors; the amount bet, the number of games selected and the sport wagered on (the outcomes of hockey and baseball games are seen as easier to predict than either basketball or football games, hence the payout is slightly higher for the latter two sports.

Despite the seemingly innocuous nature of illegal sports betting, police warn about the adverse side effects of the activity such as organized crime involvement (most Canadian bookmakers are “small time guys with only a few clientele; however, if they get too big they will get a call saying you are now working for organized crime-for a slice of the profits the organized crime group will offer protection”) (Harvey, 2005); loan sharking problems can occur when a sports gambler who has been extended credit is unable to pay off the debt; getting money to pay the loan shark may lead to committing crimes such as shoplifting and selling stolen property, and failure to pay the debt promptly can lead to assault and home invasion.

Labrosse, M. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Currently, the Atlantic and British Columbia Lottery Corporations sell lottery products (including Sport Select) online to residents of their provinces. And, in 1920 the suspension of racetrack betting was lifted and the sport reemerged using a pari-mutuel wagering system (Campbell, Hartnagel Smith, 2005).

12 correct pays 500 x wager

Canadian Sports Lottery Payout Ratios for Two Outcome Parlay Games (Point Spread Over/Under)

Colonial Period (1497-1867)–Canada was discovered in 1497 by Giovanni Caboto, an Italian sailing under the British flag; however, shortly thereafter, a French colonizing expedition lead by Jacques Cartier established settlements in Canada. Plagued by competition from provincial lotteries, objections from the major leagues of baseball and public indifference, the scheme lasted 19 weeks

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