Vancouver Sun tabloid writer and self appointed watch dog of the No Fun Brigade David Baines continues to rant and rave about online gambling. The problem is, he doesn’t have a clue as to what he’s talking about.
His old Howe Street ways of picking on the baddies of the Vancouver Stock Exchange don’t translate to the new world of a global economy where liberty, freedom, and deregulation reign supreme.
In his latest diatribe against online gambling, the Canadian government and their non-response to the American governments rush to tax and regulate online gambling, Baines accuses the Canadian government of “doing nothing” to stop the scourge of “unlicensed online gambling businesses beaming into Canada, offering all sorts unregulated betting games to Canadian residents.”
Baines praises the Americans rush to regulate online gambling after he acknowledges that US regulators finally realized that “blanket prohibitions never work”.
I think it’s time that he realizes overbearing government regulation doesn’t work either. Like what we saw in France where the government introduced an online gaming tax law which put regulated companies severely behind the competitive 8 ball.
In the US, the newest piece of gaming tax legislation before the house, HR 2230 calls for a 2% federal tax on all deposits, it allows states to add another 6% tax on deposits. It gives the players a nice punch in the gut with a 28% tax on all winnings (30% if you’re a foreigner).
Despite Baines’ cheerleading for gambling tax regulation in Canada, the Canadian government already has regulated online gambling through their provincial governments.
Baines’ home province of British Columbia has led the way in Canada with their Playnow website. Despite its shaky beginnings, Playnow offers BC residents another choice for their online gambling needs.
The Canadian government has the right approach; they are letting market forces dictate where Canadians spend their money. Canadians can choose between a government run online gaming website such as Quebec’s EspaceJeux.com or they can choose to play with an internationally licensed operator.
This allows players to choose the option that’s right for them. Reasonable people agree that when consumers are given more choices, consumers win. Sadly, the No Fun Brigade watch dog doesn’t feel the same way.
I’m not all that convinced that David Baines really wants to “end the scourge”. This man has dedicated a lot of ink to online gambling over the years. I think it would be like the Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon where Wiley Coyote actually catches the roadrunner; he didn’t know what to do once he had him.
Here’s a suggestion for David Baines, rather than going after a non-existent boogie man or trying to poke and prod the Canadian government into following failed US policies, use the power you have with your Vancouver Sun podium to right some real wrongs by doing something positive for the world. Perhaps you should bone up on environmental issues and other areas that are legitimately hurting people.
Dr. Patrick Basham proves over and over again in his seminal book, Gambling – A healthy bet, gambling is actually healthy for nearly everyone. Limiting access to a healthy pastime that Canadians readily enjoy will only make life more painful for thousands of Canadians.
Get Dr. Basham’s book, in fact we’ll buy you a copy so you can better understand what you’re talking about and move on to more pressing world issues.