Game in Canada

During the past few years, Canada has expanded its gaming industry to increase provincial revenues.

The industry has grown with such abandonment that many critics feel the provincial and federal governments have neglected caution because they are caught up in the fabric of easy profits. While this may or may not be so, the gaming industry in Canada is substantially different from that in the United States.

In 1969, the Canadian federal government legalized the gambling casino; however, only provincial governments or non-profit organizations could initiate such establishments.

The casinos were restricted to table games, but the federal government recently included lottery terminals and slot machines as legitimate video game devices. Each province, within the broadest federal law, governs how the game can operate within its jurisdiction.

The provincial governments regulate will be how many casinos there, whether or not they will be permanent, and how they will be licensed.

Most of the casinos are located in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, but other provinces have jumped in the bandwagon.

The casinos in British Columbia and Alberta are operated by private management companies that contract with non-profit organizations that claim casino facilities to raise funds.

These charitable organizations request gambling licenses that restrict their use of the casino to two days. Even under these conditions, casinos are usually open every day of the year. The exception to this is the Calgary rainfall and the Edmonton exhibition every summer.

During the summer, a special 10-day casino permit is issued, which allows each of the cities to operate between 170 and 200 game tables. In British Columbia in October 1994, government services minister announced that there would be no Las Vegas-style casinos within British Columbia.

In addition, the government is introducing 5,000 video lottery terminals into entertainment facilities for adults only.

Alberta and British Columbia deal with the distribution of the benefits of the game differently, however. In British Columbia, charities pay casinos an agreed fee for the use of the facility; in Alberta, the provincial government receives 40 percent.

The province of Saskatchewan grants licenses to non-profit organizations that assist the farming industry, but these gambling facilities only operate on a part-time basis.

New Brunswick and several other provinces grant two-day licenses to non-profit organizations, but there are no permanent gambling facilities. The game must be conducted in private clubs.

The law can be changed, but that increases the question of whether or not the ethical government can change the laws that affect advantageous casinos in which they have an interest.