Illegal gambling in Canada

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Mackey-Simpkin, Sean
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University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Health Sciences
Illegal gambling has historically been common in Western countries due to the fact that legalized forms have largely been prohibited. However, over the past 50 years most forms of gambling have been legalized. One of the main justifications for legalization is that it forces black-market operators to close and diverts money to governments that is then utilized for societal benefit. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the validity of this premise. A brief review of the literature of legalizing alcohol, cannabis, and prostitution on black-market operators shows this premise to be largely true for alcohol, untrue for prostitution and intermediate for cannabis. A more comprehensive review of this issue was undertaken for gambling legalization in Canada. Four sources of data were examined: the rate of criminal charges for illegal gambling in Canada from 1977 to 2018; self-reported past-year involvement in illegal gambling in a national online panel sample of 10,199 adult gamblers in 2018; self-reported past-year involvement in age restricted forms of gambling among adolescents aged 15-17 in 2002 and 2018 from the Canadian Community Health Survey; and the opinions of key informants. The results confirm that illegal gambling has substantially declined with legalization. However, the evidence also indicates that a) this decline was not immediate, but rather occurred over a period of 10-20 years, and b) illegal gambling still exists to a limited extent. Potential reasons are discusse
113 p.
Legalized gambling , Illegal gambling , Gambling legalization in Canada