A history of Gambling in Saskatchewan Part 2

I don’t remember how you phrase it… it’s the early 19 hundreds. This is when things start to become more legal for gambling. In 1910, for example, horse racing gets the ok – which isn’t really a surprise for centuries Horse racing was seen as a nobleman’s sport, and often something to bet on.

But, because all most all other forms of gambling at this point were still considered illegal a lot of criminal activity was also taking place in the early point in the century. Things like gambling dens and street scams were really common. This eventually lead to the Criminal Code of Canada to Ban dice games, shell games, punch boards and three card monte in 1922. But, only three years later, in 1925 agricultural fairs and exhibitions get the ok to add games of chance to their event lists. Things like the wheel of fortune, bingo, raffles, and of course, all those fair games we all love to lose like that shooting game where you have to shoot out the little red star. Just, get’s me every year!

Now for 25 years things don’t really change much until in 1954 when lotteries for charitable organization become legal as long as their properly licensed. At the same time, a committee in parliament, makes recommends that state-sponsored lotteries – think lotto 649… be prohibited. Which is a kind of an interesting recommendation from the 1950’s That minor change doesn’t last long, because in 1969 all forms of gambling get legalized under the criminal code. The federal government gives provinces the authority to run casinos and lotteries as they see fit. The feds also gives provinces the ability to license out raffles, bingos, and lotteries for charitable and religious organizations.

BUT gambling as a whole was still federally regulated and over seen. Now, 2 years later Saskatchewan starts licensing casinos in the province, but when I say casino I actually just kind of mean like a temporary gaming room where you can gamble. They would really only show up during exhibitions and fairs. You can notice at this point gambling is still mostly recreational, and it really only shows up a couple times a year.

Fast forward to 1974. This is when Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC all form the Non-profit, Western Canada Lottery Corporation or the WCLC. Sask Sport Inc. also takes control of all the funds from Saskatchewan Lotteries and these funds get ear marked for things like sports, culture, and other recreational uses throughout the province. We’re almost done, almost done, bare with me, I’ve got 2 more important dates. These next two are actually pretty big ones. They’re kind of the big turning points in Canadian gambling history.

So the first is the Olympic Lottery Corp. being established by the federal government in 1973. These guys run a country wide lottery to help pay for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Quebec. This is actually the first major public “service” funded mostly by gambling revenue, remember prior to 1969 gambling was basically illegal. So this is a pretty big change in our public tune of what we’re doing with funding from gambling. Then we have the 1985 amendment to the criminal code.

Which is probably the second biggest change to gambling in Canada since gambling gets legalized. The provinces are basically given full jurisdiction to oversee, license, and operate gambling activities under existing gambling laws. Basically that just means the federal government steps out of the picture and provinces are now fully in control of how gambling happens in their territory. That’s a lot of information.

A lot of Dates. Hopefully you followed along in our lovely timeline. So here is where we’re gonna to leave today’s video. We went from casual entertainment at the being of the colonization of Canada. To everything was banned, to sort of different forms of legalness structures. To the very beginning of gambling starting to fund public services.

So next time, we’re going to have a look at the casino era, which is the same timeline the Gambling Awareness Program starts to enter the picture. So make sure you check out our next video…it’s probably going to be out in 2 weeks. He said knowing that’s maybe not true…