Gambling Operated by The Government and its Taxation System

Increased gambling is seen as a particularly good solution to current debt situations in those regions with high provincial debt. For example, in Quebec three-quarters of respondents agree (49% strongly agreeing) that gambling revenue should go to debt financing.
An explanation for the popularity of gambling as a revenue generator comes from the voluntary nature of gambling. As previous CWF public opinion research has suggested, Canadians view gambling as an activity in which you participate with the knowledge that you are paying additional tax revenue. In response to the statement “gambling is a good way for governments to raise revenues because it is a form of voluntary taxation,” 62% agree (29% strongly agreeing)-twice as many as those that disagree (32%).

This attitude represents a discernable trend throughout the survey. Canadians view gambling participation as a choice. If people chose to over-contribute their share of tax revenue through gambling activity, this reduces the overall tax burden on the whole.

A review of the gambling literature indicates that gambling can have both positive and negative consequences for individuals and communities. As a result, the regulation of gambling must balance government revenue needs with community interests. This next section explores the extent to which government regulations fit with the attitudes and opinions of Canadians.

As indicated earlier, provincial governments operate and benefit from most forms of gambling either directly or through provincial Crown corporations. The provinces may also license charities to participate in gambling activity through raffles, pull tickets, and some bingos.

To measure satisfaction with this arrangement, respondents were asked Òwho should operate gambling in CanadaÓ (see Figure 4). Municipal, provincial and federal governments, private industry, charities and First Nations groups were presented as possible responses. The findings support a retention of the current policy structure. A plurality (35%) indicate that the provincial governments should operate gambling with charities the second most common choice (16%).

While these results support the status quo, it is worth noting that nearly half of the respondents favour another option. These results may indicate discord with the current provincial restrictions on the operation of gambling. Interestingly, 5% of the sample believe that no one should be operating gambling in Canada; this group likely includes the strongest opponents of gambling.

The support for private company operation of gambling deserves particular note. The introduction of private profit- making from gambling would significantly alter the nature of gambling in Canada, yet this option is indicated at nearly the same level as federal or municipal government operated gambling.

Federal Government / 10%
Municipal Government / 16%
Private Companies / 1%
Charities / 5%
First Nations Groups / 10%
No One / 10%
Combinations of Above / 9%