Canada’s $15-billion gambling industry is emphasizing the positive in a new report that points to its payroll, contribution to government coffers and key role in supporting the hospitality business.

Gambling is “larger than magazine, book, spectator sport, movie theatre and performing arts sectors combined,” the Canadian Gaming Association said Thursday in a release about the report.

“We would like to focus today on the good things gaming has done,” said consultant Robert Scarpelli of HLT Advisory Inc.

He wrote the report, which includes the impact of casinos, slot machines, bingos and government-run lotteries.

The study says:

  • The industry contributes $15.3 billion to the economy (including food and entertainment spending).
  • Consumers spend $14.5 billion a year on gambling alone.
  • About 57 per cent, or $8.6 billion, goes to governments and charities.
  • The industry accounts for more than 50,000 jobs.
  • Current capital construction is close to $10 billion, nearly half in Ontario.

Gambling generates almost as much revenue for the hospitality business as full-service restaurants, and is ahead of accommodation ($14.3 billion) and air travel ($11.9 billion for Canada’s two major airlines).