The following information is being provided in the hopes of dispelling the myth that Greyhound racing is illegal in Canada. The Northwest Canadian Greyhound League remains neutral about the issue of Greyhound racing.
We remain neutral because our efforts are focused on helping the retired racing Greyhounds from Calida Greyhound Racetrack and other sources find homes. For anyone that chooses to argue the legality of Greyhound racing in Canada please approach your Member of Parliment about the issue.
Most people are under the impression that Greyhound racing is illegal in Canada and so were we when we heard about Calida Greyhound Race Track in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada. So we went on an information hunt.
After several weeks on the phone with many Government officials and departments we have learned that Greyhound racing is NOT illegal in Canada. It is simply UNLEGISLATED. There is a huge difference. If there were legislation in place that specifically stated Greyhound racing was illegal then it would be.
However, all Canadian legislation is written for and based on horse racing. Only horse racing and the paramutual betting that revolves around horse racing is legislated. It is illegal to have paramutual betting on any animal race except horse racing but that does not prevent people from racing other types of animals and having other forms of betting. This is the important distinction that many people don't understand.
Calida Greyhound Race Track in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada is considered a legal entity by the Government bodies that license their operation. They are considered legal because they don't have paramutal betting they have 'pool' betting. Most of you are now asking yourselves, "what is the difference?"
Paramutual betting is only legal for horse racing. You cannot have paramutual betting on any other animal in Canada. Paramutual betting is described by the Paramutual Betting Association as betting that occurs between all people at the track and prior to winnings paid out the Government receives a tax and the track receives a commission.
The commission that the track receives is what allows them to offer odds on winning and payout money over and above the amount bet. There is no maximum to the amount that you can bet unless the track chooses to have a maximum in their policies.
Therefore if you bet $2, you are betting that $2 against every other person at the track, even if there are a thousand people there, and if all the people bet on the winning horse then all would receive more money back than their original bet and the track would assume the loss. If only one person bet on the winning horse they would receive an amount over their bet based on the odds and the track would assume the profit from all the people that lost the bet.
Calida Greyhound Racetrack in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada has pool betting. Each person that enters a bet is placed into a 'pool' with 9 other people, making 10, the maximum number of people that you are betting against. There can be fewer people in the pool but no more than 10.
The maximum bet is $5, NO HIGHER, and that is only on one race. For the other races the maximum bet is $2. The track does not receive any commission and the government does not receive any tax.
Therefore, if you bet $2 you would be placed in a pool and for the purposes of demonstration let's say your pool has the maximum number of 10 people. If all 10 people bet on the winning dog you would each receive your $2 back. If you were the only person to bet on the winning dog you would receive a maximum of $20 and if no one bet on the winning dog everyone would receive their $2 back.
Remember the track receives NO commission from the betting that takes place. The track operates solely on charging a gate fee and running a concession stand.