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  1. North America is experiencing a real shift when it comes to sports betting. While the USA is in the middle of a mass push to legalise online sportsbooks across many of its states, Canada could see some major law changes come to pass in its sports betting realms as well. These combined changes could see a massive shift in international revenue stats over the next few years, as American countries seek to compete with European markets for the title of ‘top dog’. Focus on the Maple Leaf Kevin Waugh, the MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood, introduced The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act amendment (Bill C-218) to the Canadian Parliament earlier this year as a Private Member’s Bill. The proposed amendment aims to target legislative changes to the Criminal Code that will allow for the regulation of single-event betting across Canada - a luxury that Canadians have not enjoyed to this point. Unfortunately, the law as it stands is costing the Canadian economy billions of dollars in revenue each year and is indirectly putting players in harm’s way. This bill has been long on the cards and has mustered great support from various sporting organisations, provincial governments, and businesses over the past eight years. Did you know? Some of the strongest propagators for the amendment to the current sports betting regulations include several famous sporting leagues such as Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Canadian Football League (CFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL). The consensus for change simply cannot go unnoticed anymore, so hopes run high that the amendment will get the thumbs up from the Senate committee (where it is at present) and be passed into law. The Current Canuck Conundrum Currently, in Canada, you can only place parlay wagers. This means that you must bet on the outcome of 2 or more sports events at the same time. Most other countries in the world allow single-event betting, which is evidently what most players prefer. Often, players just want to put money on their favourite team and leave it at that. As a result, bettors are looking elsewhere for their entertainment. Recent gaming statistics by the Canadian Gaming Association revealed that only a small number of Canadian bettors use regulated provincial sportsbooks for their gambling. The annual revenue is around $500 million in total. Alarmingly, illegal bookmaking organisations operated by organised crime syndicates absorb up to $10 billion a year in revenues. This is one of the biggest concerns for lawmakers and a big motivating factor to push the bill through and get the new regulation underway as soon as possible. Quick Fact: A 2019 police force bust on an illegal Hell’s Angel gambling racket in Ontario revealed that the biker group had generated around $2.5 billion dollars in illegal wagers over a five-year period. That is as much as all the collective provincial bookmaker’s revenues over the same period. Legal offshore sites are also drawing the crowds, taking $4 billion in revenues outside of the country per annum. To agitate issues, most of the U.S states bordering Canada have either legalised or are in the process of legalising online and land-based sports betting. This makes it easy for Canucks to cross the borders and play at betting shops that offer them what they want. The simple fact of the matter is that bettors would not have to look for riskier alternatives if the legal sites and betting shops in their areas would offer them what they are looking for. It’s seemingly time for Canada to step up and embrace the global trends that have been in place for many years already. What Bill C-218 Would Accomplish for Canadian Gambling There are three primary benefits that Canada can look forward to if the Senate passes the bill. ✓ Consumer Protection A regulated gaming climate is a far safer environment for bettors. The laws enforce stringent ethical codes which give you greater recourse should you feel cheated or hard done by. While many offshore sites run ‘tight ships’, there is no real protection for customers playing from outside of their regulated jurisdictions. Playing at illicit sites or placing bets at unscrupulous betting shops is a fool’s game. It’s not uncommon for them to run fabricated odds, and the risks associated with the bets are much higher. Disputes will simply fall on deaf ears and any attempt for lawful recourse could land you in hot water. Important! We recommend that you avoid illegal sports betting sites, including Canadian operators like ‘Ultimate Sportsbook’, ‘Titan Sportsbook’, ‘PlaytoWin’, ‘Privada’, and ‘Players Sportsbook’, to name a few. Reputable and regulated vendors are all problem gambling conscious and provide measures to promote responsible gaming to the public. As a result, the new bill could be an effective catalyst to combat gambling addiction in the Great White North. ✓ Economic Boost The Canadian economy is in for a boost in more ways than one. Firstly, if the majority of the player base returns to regulated sportsbooks, the industry would morph from a multi-million-dollar market into a multi-billion-dollar one. Not only could the government use the taxes gained from such turnover to increase its charitable works, but the growth of the industry would make room for greater employment opportunities and an expansion of the industry as we know it. The knock-on effect for food and beverage sales, alone, would be astronomical at betting shops as a result. ✓ Crime Prevention Drawing players away from illegal gambling sites and shops will effectively put a damper on the illegal market and result in diminishing criminal statistics. Illegal sports betting sites have raked in hugely off the back of a formerly stubborn industry. Legalising the betting on single-event outcomes could loosen the criminal stranglehold on the market. Round-Up The future looks bright for Canadian sports bettors and the gambling industry. If the bill passes its final stage, the Canadian market will be on equal footing with the hottest betting regions in the world. Together with the rapidly growing USA market, it could challenge revenues in countries like the UK. We are, however, not over the last hurdle yet. Private Member’s Bills are notorious for their failure rate in Canada. Thankfully, the morale is high with this one, as it has extraordinarily strong support on both a political and commercial level.
  2. Betting is almost as old as humanity itself. Where there is risk or chance involved, humans can’t help but enjoy the challenge associated with potentially winning. In gambling circles, folks like to put their money where their mouth is. While we tend to think of sports betting or casino gaming as the standard go-to platforms for wagering, there are many other options available. People bet on political decisions and candidates, about the winners of competitions and talent shows, and other odd outcomes too. Explore a list of the 10 strangest bets that have been placed in history. While some include long-odds casino and sports betting gameplay, each bet listed has an unconventional and out of the ordinary result attached to it. 1. Sell Up for Vegas While Vegas is filled with high rollers, very few people have put as much on the line as Ashley Revell. In 2004, the Kent man decided to sell up all his worldly possessions and lay the money on the line on a single roulette bet. After convincing Sky TV in the UK to cover his story of ‘Double or Nothing’, he set out on a trip to Vegas to potentially gamble his life away. The destination – Plaza Hotel and Casino, who eventually decided to accept a single £78,000 bet on an even roulette wager. Revell put it all on red. The outcome proved favourable for the Englishman, who walked away from the table the victor with a prize haul of £153,680! Gambling was obviously in this man’s blood, as he used the winnings to fund an online poker company, which was unfortunately not as lucky for him as he went out of business in 2012. 2. Some Things Never Change In 1989, an unknown man from Wales placed a truly unconventional 6,479:1 wager with Ladbrokes bookmakers, which truly seemed like a long shot. His bet was based on five things that would remain the same in the world between 1989 and the year 2000. His bet slip included a £30 wager on the following: The TV Shows Neighbours, EastEnders, and Home and Away would still be airing by 2000. Famous singer, Cliff Richards, would be knighted by 2000. The famous rock band, U2, would still be together and performing. All his predictions came to pass, earning him a handsome and unexpected payday of £194,400. 3. Landing Loss Gambling should always be done responsibly. It is one thing to place your livelihood on the line, but when you endanger the lives of nearly 100 other people, you have taken your entertainment a step too far. Russian Pilot, Alexander Kliuyev, placed a friendly bet with his co-pilot that he could land their Aeroflight plane he was piloting without any visual aids. He decided to draw the cockpit curtains and ignore the flight controller on his descent. Kliuyev misjudged his approach and sent the plane hurtling into the runway. Over 60 people died on that flight, and he got 6 years of jail time for his stunt. His co-pilot lived to tell the tale but got off freely. 4. The Suitcase Gamble William Leen Bergstrom will go down as one of the most well-known gamblers in Las Vegas. While not a professional bettor, he made three massive wagers which inevitably end in sorrow. Bergstrom walked into the Horseshoe Casino with two large suitcases. One was filled with $777,000 of mostly borrowed money and the other one was empty, as he anticipated to walk away with more than he came in with. He staked all the money on a single bet at the craps table, shooting a winning 7 and walking away with double his stake in one swoop. Three years later, he returned with a $500,000 wager and again clinched the win. According to sources, it had always been his dream to place a $1 million bet, which he did in 1984. Unfortunately, the mega wager did not pan out this time and he lost it all. A few days later, Bergstrom sadly committed suicide. His three single lifetime bets will go down in the annals of Vegas and will be remembered for decades to come. 5. 1.56 Trillion to 1 Patricia Demauro’s winning streak at an Atlantic City casino is surely a world record. After spending hours on the Penny Slots at Borgata Hotel Casino, she got bored and ventured to the tables, where she decided to try her luck at craps. A novice at the game, she decided to bet against landing 7, which is the most rolled number in the game and is not a popular bet option. She managed to evade the number for 154 straight throws, which is unheard of in gambling circles. The odds of this happening were 1.56 trillion to one. The 155th throw broke her streak, but not her spirit, as she walked away from that experience with a wealth of wins under her belt. 6. A Busty Bet Renowned magician and avid gambler, Brian Zembic, was known for his inability to turn down a wager. Having concluded several ridiculous bets in the past, none would be as extreme as his stunt in 1997. He was bet $100,000 that he would not have silicone breast implants fitted and live with them for a year. Zembic defied the odds and increased his bust by a few sizes to claim his cash. What makes this tale strange, is that after the year was done, he refused to have the implants removed, keeping them in for almost 2 decades before finally succumbing to pleas from his daughter to take them out. 7. A Racing Rarity Some people just recognise talent when they see it. Richard Hopkins accompanied his son to the go-kart racetrack in 1998, where he was super-impressed by a boy racer by the name of Lewis Hamilton. Such was his awe for the child that it led him to make three bets: He bet £200 that Lewis Hamilton would win a Formula 1 race by the time he was 23. This held 22:1 odds. He bet £100 that Lewis Hamilton would become a Formula 1 World Champion by 25. This held 500:1 odds. He bet £50 that both previous bets would come to pass. This held 1500:1 odds. Hamilton went on to win his first race at 22 and walked away with his first world title at 23, winning Mr Hopkins a total payout of over £165,000! 8. Virgin Airways vs Air Asia When two ridiculously rich men come together to wager against each other, a little more than money is needed on the table to satisfy the winner. Sir Richard Branson (owner of Virgin Airways) and Tony Fernandes (major shareholder in Air Asia) were supporting two opposing teams to win the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix one year. They both agreed that whoever’s team lost, the backer would have to dress up as an airline stewardess and serve passengers on one of their opposition’s flights. Branson was forced to put on a wig, a hostess uniform, and bright red lipstick while making flight announcements over the loudspeaker on an Air Asia charity flight in 2013 after he lost the bet. He managed to get one back before the end of the 5-hour flight though and tipped a tray full of drinks on Fernandes, who was present on the flight. 9. Dr Seuss, the Gambler Sometimes, small bets can have far bigger outcomes than anticipated. Publisher Bob Cerf (Random House Publishers) bet Theodor Geisel $5 that he could not write an entire storybook that consisted of 50 words or less. The writer accepted the challenge and claimed his $5 win upon the release of one of the most iconic children’s books ever: ‘’Green Eggs and Ham’’ by Dr Seuss, which was Greisel’s writer’s pseudonym. It is safe to say that that single wager paid off tremendously for the writer and the publishing house. 10. A Watery Grave Perhaps one of the craziest bets to ever be made was by Matthew Webb in 1883. His claim to fame was as the first person to swim the English Channel, which he completed in 1875. His fame and success in swimming circles led to his writing of a book called ‘’The Art of Swimming’’. In support of his own abilities, Webb took a wager of $2000 that he could traverse the Whirlpool Rapids close to Niagara Falls, a feat that no one else had accomplished before. Unfortunately, this proved to be a rather irresponsible bet, as the swimmer drowned in the attempt. Is It Your Turn? Next time you have a hunch, it could be the one that pays off! Always play responsibly, whether you’re aiming to win big on a crazy wager or you’re simply playing your favourite online slot.
  3. Did you know that it is estimated that 1.6 billion people gamble at some point during a year? It is also estimated that 4.2 billion people have gambled at some point in their lives. With so many different ways to win money through gambling, such as sporting events, lotteries, and online casinos, it's no wonder so many people engage in gambling. Some feel disheartened when they don't win, however, there are ways you can improve your chances of winning money. Keep reading to learn all about pari-mutuel betting, including what it is and how it works, to find out if this type of gambling is right for you. What Is Pari-Mutuel Betting? Pari-mutuel, also known as pool betting, is a type of betting where instead of placing wagers against a bookmaker, the bettor places wagers against other bettors. Placing wagers against other bettors on the same event creates a pool of money, which is shared out among those who choose the winning circumstances. A small amount of all the total wagers is usually deducted by the 'house', which is either a state-run organization or a private company that provides the betting services. This type of betting is commonly used for greyhound racing and horse racing, but it can also be used for other sporting events such as golf. Pari-mutuel betting is legal in 43 states across the US and in other countries around the world. Pari-mutuel payouts depend on how many bettors placed bets on the sporting event and how many of those selected the winning outcome. This means that it's difficult for people to develop a betting strategy as there aren't any fixed odds. Regardless of the lack of strategy, pari-mutuel betting remains a popular gambling option for both professional and amateur bettors. How Do Pari-Mutuel Bets Work? Pari-mutuel betting is a very straightforward betting process, once you get your head around it. When a bettor first places their pari-mutuel bet they won't receive a fixed odd. When you first place your bet, you'll instead get probable odds, which are calculated based on the betting pool. This is where a pari-mutuel bet differs from other types of bets because there are no fixed odds. It's very likely that the probable odds will change as the sporting event happens. Once the event has taken place, the bets will all be added up, with the house taking some of the profits. The money that remains in the pool will then be divided between the bettors that made the right selection. The payout each bettor receives depends on how much their wager was. Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing Example Although the betting strategy is straightforward, it can be a difficult concept to grasp from the beginning. So to help you better understand pari-mutuel betting, we've created a horse racing example. There are five horses in the race and you decide to place a $10 bet on Horse A. The house has accepted these bets on the horses: Horse A - $400 Horse B - $200 Horse C - $300 Horse D - $100 Horse E - $150 The house calculates that the bets come to $1,200. The house takes a 10% cut (which is $120) leaving the betting pool total at $1,080. The payouts for each horse is then calculated by dividing the remaining balance by the total bet amount on each horse. For Horse A, the payout is $1,080 divided by $400, which equals $2.70. For Horse B, the payout is $1,080 divided by $200, which equals $5.40. For Horse C, the payout is $1,080 divided by $300, which equals $3.60. For Horse D, the payout is $1,080 divided by $100, which equals $10.80. For Horse E, the payout is $1,080 divided by $150, which equals $7.20. If Horse A won, the payout of $2.70 would be $27, because, for every $1 that was wagered, you receive $2.70. This means that you would win an additional $17 on top of the $10 you used to bet on the horse. This example uses smaller numbers, to keep it simple, but many pari-mutuel events have big money up for grabs. Similar to betting that relies on fixed odds, the odds for the favorite to win will always be the lowest, resulting in less money. Whereas the underdog bets will always be higher, meaning that if they do win the race, you're more likely to win big. Pari-Mutuel Top Tips It's better to place your bet as close to the start of the race as possible. This is because as the event draws nearer, the odds can change. Odds that change at the last minute could result in you losing a lot of money you thought you were going to win. For example, sometimes horses may have odds of 5/1 five hours before the race, so you put $100 on that horse to win (which would result in you receiving $500). But an hour before the race, during the warm-up, the horse has some problems and the odds drop to 3/1 (which means you would only win a maximum of $300). This could lead to a whole lot of heartache on your side, especially if you don't even check the odds again before the race. Do your betting on a personal level, this will ensure you get more of your hard-earned cash. Live bookies might take a cut from your winnings (after the house has already taken their cut). Stick to placing your bets at the track, over the phone, or on the internet through the sporting events website. Give Pari-Mutuel Betting a Go and See If You Can Win Big Now that you've learned more about pari-mutuel betting and how it works, why not try your hand at it? Remember that you can find pari-mutuel bets for various sporting events, such as horse racing, greyhound racing, and golf. Larger pari-mutuel organizations often attract more bettors, so these are the events where you might be able to win big.
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