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ALBERTA GAMBLING REVENUES RIVAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION

Gambling revenues are fuelling Alberta’s government, with income comparable to both oil and gas.
 
Residents in the Alberta province of Canada like to gamble, and to a lesser extent enjoy throwing back the odd alcoholic beverage, it appears from recent survey results published by the National Post newspaper this week.
 
So much so, that revenues from gambling (Cdn$1.3 billion) and alcohol (Cdn$700 million) rival those from energy resources like conventional natural gas and crude oil income.
 
The newspaper reports that in the current budget year royalties from conventional natural gas are forecast to hit only Cdn$1.9-billion this year - way down from the Cdn6 billion of four years ago. Estimated conventional crude oil income for the year is also projected to reach about the same amount.
 
The numbers continue a trend from the 2009-10 fiscal year, and as the National Post observes, are part of an intriguing trend in which government income from gambling and alcohol consumption is increasingly rivalling that which it derives from the province’s geological wealth.
 
“It’s a reliable source [of revenue] and they depend on it. That’s the worrisome thing,” Robert Williams, a co-ordinator with the Alberta Gaming Research Institute, told the newspaper, adding that Albertans are already near the top of per-capita gambling in Canada, spending an average Cdn$951 per person in 2009 - far more than almost every other province. [Ed. note: see following story for Stats Canada numbers]
 
Revenues from alcohol and gambling are key to social program funding, the report notes, with government income from alcohol going into general revenue for spending, while gambling dollars are allocated to the Alberta Lottery Fund, which then distributes the cash among hundreds of groups and agencies in the province.
 
“You’ve got a real variety of where the money goes,” said Lynn Hutchings-Mah of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. “The grants do go back to support a lot of volunteer and community projects and initiatives.”
 
Alberta faces a record Cdn$4.8-billion deficit this year, and revenues from oil and gas are declining.
 
Bob Ascah, director of the University of Alberta’s Institute for Public Economics, said low natural gas revenues are part of a new reality in the province, at least for the next few years.
 
He told the National Post that several factors are driving the decline, including falling conventional gas production and growing shale gas activity in the United States, which has reduced U.S. reliance on Canadian gas.
 
Ascah said he expects to see Alberta taking a considered look at forays by British Columbia, Quebec and some Maritime provinces into online gambling, along with the possibility that Ontario may also be making such a move. Such a venture could provide much needed new income sources that aren’t tied to volatile oil and gas.



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NBA odds on Thunder vs. Pacers Game? - This Wednesday night in Indianapolis, Paul George is due to play his first game at the Fieldhouse as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder (12-13 SU, 8-17 ATS). But George might not face the Indiana Pacers (15-11 SU, 16-10 ATS); he’s listed as day-to-day with a right calf contusion. Tip-off is at 7 PM ET on ESPN.

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Microgame S.p.A. in deal with Prima Networks - Prima Networks, powered by Microgaming, has signed a deal with Microgame S.p.A., the leading Italian gaming service provider.

NBA Odds: Heat Can Burn Cavaliers in Cleveland - The Cleveland Cavaliers (12-7 SU, 6-12-1 ATS) may have turned their season around, but they’ve got a challenging matchup this Tuesday against the Miami Heat (9-9 SU, 7-9-2 ATS), tipping off at 7 PM ET on NBA-TV. Miami is 7-4 SU and 6-5 ATS against the Cavs since LeBron James went back to Cleveland in 2014.

Games Concept Day in Malta - The Quickfire Games Concept Day is the second full-day workshop to date, the first being held in Gibraltar in July.

AFC’s fight against match-fixing - The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has introduced a new AFC integrity mobile application, which will enable fans, players and officials to report possible suspicious activities or provide information concerning match-fixing or corruption to the AFC Integrity Unit.

PartyPoker Removes Dormant Account Fees - partypoker today announced that players will no longer be charged fees for inactivity on their online accounts.

NHL Odds: Rangers Look for Seventh Straight in Chicago - The Chicago Blackhawks (8-8-2) will try to get their season on track this Wednesday when they host the surging New York Rangers (9-7-2) in an Original Six showdown. NBCSN has the coverage beginning at 8 PM ET.

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