At the recent SBC Gaming Summit, President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association Paul Burns was inducted into the Sports Betting Hall of Fame. Burns was one of four industry leaders to be inducted during the Summit, and was the first Canadian to receive the honor.
Paul Burns has been a key player in the Canadian gaming industry for decades. Helping to found the Canadian Gaming Association in 2005, Burns was part of the groundswell that eventually pushed legalization of gambling sites over the line in Ontario earlier this year. Prior to his work with the CGA, Burns worked as Corporate Compliance Officer for RPC Gaming, a Canadian-based company that operated a Las Vegas-based chain of casinos. He also worked for the Ontario government to develop charity casinos while in his role as Vice President, Corporate Affairs for RPC Anchor Gaming.
Burns’ experience extends to a variety of roles in the government, working on policy and implementation for the gaming sector. His work helped in a number of areas including allowing racetracks to include slot machines. He also has experience in areas outside of gaming, including economic development and public transit. Burns became the President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association in 2018, putting the crown jewel on his resume by providing instrumental work to fully legalize sports betting in Ontario.
Mr. Burns said he was surprised by his induction into the SBC Sports Betting Hall of Fame, while numerous colleges and co-workers expressed their opinion that Burns was very much deserving of the honor. His contributions to the Canadian sports betting industry stretch far and wide, and while he could simply bask in his numerous accomplishments, Burns feels that there is still work to be done. During his induction speech, Burns said “It’s certainly been a long haul, but there’s plenty of work still to be done to maintain gaming momentum in Canada. While regulated online sports betting has begun in Ontario, we still haven’t seen casino sportsbooks open in Canada, and I look forward to continuing to work to make that happen.”
Getting retail sportsbooks into Canadian casinos isn’t as easy as it sounds in spite of the legal online sports betting in Ontario. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission operates the province’s casinos, while the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario oversees the slots and casino locations, so any plan will need the approval of both.
His track record of dedication to the gaming industry speaks for itself, but in his induction speech, Burns expressed his passion for legalized sports betting clearly. Burns said “It’s been a wonderful experience for me to be able to work with all of the terrific people in the industry. I’ve never had a day I didn’t want to go work because it’s been awesome, and a lot of fun. You’re always learning and meeting new people. The innovation, the growth, the changes. It’s been fantastic. I’ve been blessed and privileged to do this.”
As Ontario puts itself on the global map as one of its largest and fastest-growing legal sports betting markets, a Canadian finally being inducted into the SBC Sports Betting Hall of Fame makes all the sense in the world. Paul Burns is well deserving of the honor, and clearly he still has plenty more to contribute even after receiving the highest level of industry recognition.
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