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Leblanc v. R., [2007] 2 C.T.C. 2248 (T.C.C.)

Two brothers compulsively gamble on sports lotteries and for 4 years, their winnings were:

1996      1997      1998      1999

$875,874  $755,271  $418,178  $715,221

Canadian Revenue Agency wanted to tax this as business income and the brothers claimed they should not be taxed.
Held: Gambling winnings were of a personal nature and were not taxable. 

"The appellants are not professional gamblers who assess their risks, minimize them and rely on inside information and knowledge and skill. They are not like the racehorse-owner, who has access to the trainers, the horses, the track conditions and other such insider information on which to base his wagers. Nor are they like seasoned card players or pool players who prey on unsuspecting, inexperienced opponents. Rather, they are more accurately described as compulsive gamblers, who are continually trying their luck at a game of chance".


However, the facts of the case are more interesting.  Here are my favorite quotes from the judgment:

"The appellants are two unmarried young men in their thirties or thereabouts.  They graduated from high school but have no formal training in anything except for some computer courses in high school"

"They led unusual lives. They spent their time playing lottery games or watching sports on television. They also played ping pong and golf and sat around the house drinking beer and eating pizza. Despite their winnings, they lived cheaply and spent very little on material goods. Their winnings were all ploughed back into the lottery games."

"The losing tickets were kept in the basement of their house in Aylmer. Brian said this was to establish where the money came from, if anyone questioned it. It strikes me as equally consistent with their somewhat bizarre and obsessive behaviour."

"In later years, Terry created a computer program that would do that manual process for them. More specifically, Brian would input his sporting event choices into the program and it would list all of the possible combinations of those choices. Brian would identify his preferred combination choice or choices and then they would buy multiple tickets, sometimes thousands of tickets, on those choices."

"In the beginning, the appellants went out to the outlets to pick up their pre-ordered tickets themselves, but by mid-1996, they decided they did not want to do this legwork, so they started paying three of their friends to be their "helpers". These helpers were assigned a "territory" or "route" of stores from which they would pick up tickets. The appellants used helpers because they said the fun in playing the sports lottery is in placing the wagers and watching the games, not in running around town to pick up the tickets. They were "lazy" and only wanted to do the fun activities."

An oldie but a goodie discussed in Pacific Rim Law class. How a comma cost Rogers Communications 2.13 million. Prof was using it as an example to indicate one should use plain language when drafting documents.

Unsolicited advice: take Unjust Enrichment before you take Trusts because he covers unjust enrichment in Trusts, but it's done a lot quicker without all the explanation.





( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 25th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC)
with luck like that, who needs secondary education.
Nov. 25th, 2008 03:42 am (UTC)
I agree. When the Tax Prof said the total amounts, I was like "why am I in law school?"
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
haha what an interesting case!
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
I only share the interesting cases :) There's a lot of boring ones.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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