BC’s media, and the legislature, have been talking about gambling this week. The government plans to introduce PlayNow, a website that will allow people to bet on sports results. The government’s Solicitor General Rich Coleman says this is not an expansion of gambling. This claim is hardly credible, but that’s not the real issue. What’s really significant about this announcement is that the government is finding a way to privatize taxation, and to make the tax system even more regressive.
Since taking power in 2001, the government has increased revenue from gambling from $1.4 billion to $1.9 billion – that’s billion, folks, rivalling forestry revenues. Their longer term plan is to increase revenues to $2.7 billion by 2007 and increase the number of people participating from 59% to 65% of the population. No expansion there, either, Mr. Coleman?