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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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Gambling News :

Pokerstars Bahamas Main and High Roller Results - The inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas saw two big winners crowned this weekend when Christian Harder won the main event for $429,664 and Luc Greenwood took home $779,268 after taking down the $25,750 High Roller event.

Rodrigo Duterte has identified illegal gambling as his third priority - Illegal online gambling operators can anticipate tougher times in the Philippines following a directive from President Rodrigo Duterte that stamping out illegal gambling is his third most important goal after illegal drugs and government corruption.

High Hopes For Pennsylvania Online Gambling - Pennsylvania state politicians have wasted no time in getting back to work in the new legislative season, and there is renewed hope for a gambling expansion bill that includes online gambling and daily fantasy sports.

WILLIAM HILL ACCUSED OF QUESTIONABLE MARKETING TACTICS - British Labour member of parliament for Swansea East, Carolyn Harris, has described as "appalling" player-poaching techniques allegedly encouraged by the online and land bookmaker William Hill plc.

GoWild has announced the launch of its own new gaming platform - The European online gambling group GoWild has announced the launch of its own new gaming platform, providing entertainment in addition to its Microgaming games, which will now be delivered via the Quickfire platform.

UK Government Introduces Mandatory horseracing levy - The levy kicks in after the first GBP 500,000 in gross revenue has been earned by online and retail bookmaking firms and other betting organizations.

Chinese Arrested in Philippines Invalid - Representing the thirty-nine plaintiffs, defense lawyer Irene Bianca B. Distura claimed that the warrant that led to her clients’ apprehension is “invalid.”

NJ Warns No Federal Online Gambling Ban - New Jersey Senator and gubernatorial candidate Raymond Lesniak warned that any attempt to overturn a 2011 Department of Justice opinion that the federal Wire Act exclusively governs sports betting would be met with a hard-nosed reaction from his state.

Casino du Liban To Launch new online gambling platform - The venture will be in partnership with an unnamed international company, and a tender has already been launched with a deadline of January 19 to submit the proposals.

Winstar slot Pays Big Jackpot - One very fortunate online punter in Bermuda has scored a major win on the Winstar slot at the PokerStars online casino, collecting a $825,037 jackpot.

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