Should Proceeds of Gambling go to Canadian Charity

¥ Only 2% believe that private companies should benefit from gambling. This was an unexpectedly small result given the popularity of the for-profit gambling models in the US and abroad.

¥ Only 2% of respondents felt that First Nations should be the primary benefactors of gambling despite an overall favourable response to the concept of on-reserve gambling.

Support for directing gambling revenues to charities varies between the regions (Figure 19). In BC, 55% of respondents believe that the charities should primarily benefit from gambling and no other source was supported by more than 10%of the population. The provincial government, the current primary recipient of gambling revenue, receives only 9%support in BC. In contrast, Quebec respondents are more favourable to the notion of gambling revenue benefiting the province. One-quarter of Quebec respondents indicate that provincial governments should be the main recipient of revenue. However, Quebeckers still favour charities as the main recipient. Overall, all regions favour charities as the primary beneficiaries of gambling, with the highest levels of support found in BC and the Prairies.

There is an interesting relationship between the opinions of operators and beneficiaries. Respondents who favour the model of provincial-operated gambling are equally split on who should benefit from gambling: the province or the charities. Similarly, of those who favoured private operation, most (41%) feel that these activities should be run primarily for the benefit of charity and not the private company. Respondents appear comfortable with the notion of gambling operated by the provinces or industry on behalf of charities.

Overall, these data reinforce the importance placed on the association between gambling and charitable purposes in the attitudes of Canadians. The reality of current profit-sharing relationships runs counter to public preferences. This disequilibrium appears to be at the root of emerging debates regarding the proper use of gambling revenue.

While the above results suggest that Canadians strongly favour directing the proceeds of gambling revenue to charities, this does not imply that gambling is a preferred method of funding the sector. Studies suggest that gambling funding, despite its lucrative nature, might not be an ideal means of generating revenue. For example, dependency situations can arise if a charity becomes reliant upon the gambling revenue to fund its programs and ethical dilemmas can arise as charities evaluate the impact of gambling upon problem gamblers and lower income persons.

Respondents were directly asked “what is the best way to fund charities in Canada?” This question was asked at the outset of the survey to avoid any bias toward or against gambling. RespondentsÕ views are split between gambling revenue(19%), individual donations (21%) and corporate donations (20%) (Figure 20). Based on these data, the public does not view gambling as a particularly problematic form of raising revenue for charities.

Combinations – 21%
Individual Donations – 20%
Corporate Donations – 19%
Gambling at Charity Events, Bingo and Charity Casinos – 14%
Government Grants – 22%

1-24% of Gambling Revenue – 9%
25-49% of Gambling Revenue – 17%
50-74% of Gambling Revenue – 43%
75-100% of Gambling Revenue – 31%