After almost 10 years and two attempts by its proponents, single-event sports betting in Canada is about to be legal. The Senate passed Bill C-218, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, on Monday 22nd June 2021, by a vote of 57-20. It will become law when the bill gets royal assent.
Once approved, the provinces will have the authority to license and regulate sports betting. It is estimated that $14 billion are spent annually by Canadians through offshore (grey market) or illegal gambling operators.
Until now, bettors have only been allowed to legally wager on two or more games, otherwise known as a parlay. Proponents of legalized sports betting watched two previous efforts to amend the Criminal Code fall by the wayside — first in 2011 and again in 2015. In February 2020, however, Saskatchewan MP Kevin Waugh reintroduced the legislation as a private member’s bill which made it to the Senate more than a year later.
Mixed feedback about the new legislation
Some senators expressed concerns about an increase in gambling addiction and the potential for match-fixing. Lower-tier leagues where athletes aren’t highly paid, could be susceptible to bribery.
“This piece of legislation has many tentacles that could have and should have been looked at more closely,” said Sen. Vernon White, the former RCMP deputy commissioner who proposed the match-fixing amendment and voted against it on Tuesday.
He furthermore said, “I have spoken about match-fixing … and we could speak to areas such as mental illness and the impact micro (or in-game) betting will have on gamblers, the tools used by online gambling infrastructure to ensure a gambler’s continued betting, ethics in sports.”
Single-game betting on pro sports including hockey is coming to Canada after Tuesday’s approval by the Senate. Waugh, a former sports broadcaster, said in a statement that black-market bookmakers and offshore websites “have had a monopoly on single-event betting” for too long.
“I call on provincial governments to act as quickly as possible to get the necessary regulations and licences in place so that all Canadians can begin to place their wagers,” Waugh said. “This bill is a win for Canadian taxpayers, workers and sports fans.”
The passing of this legislation is momentous, and we are confident that Canada will embrace legal sports betting and become a leader in this rapidly developing and cutting-edge industry.
A legal sports wagering environment will also provide a much-anticipated financial boost to pro leagues through partnerships with the books and selling the data they collect from games. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie told a Senate committee earlier this month that legal sports betting would be an economic tonic for a league desperately seeking revenue sources after missing the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How the Bill C-218 Will Impact Canada?
With Bill C-218 in place, territorial and provincial governments can authorize and regulate single-event sports betting in their designated area. In turn, players will have the freedom to place single-event sports bets in land-based and online gambling companies.
Since the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, in May 2018, the American sports gaming sector grew by 65%, which is equal to $430 million.
If Canada permits single events sports betting, Canadian gambling revenue will unquestionably rise also.
Sports betting in Canada will be simple to understand with the new act in place and much safer for users to play.
Multiple provincial government candidates have expressed their support for single-event sports betting to be legalized. As such, with the wealth of benefits, it brings the government and public, it’s only a matter of time before the act is permitted.
Implications Of This Bill on Casino markets
Bill C-218, The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, has passed in the House of Commons and awaits approval in the Senate. There are no direct implications on online casinos, except for those that offer also betting as a side business through Increased Sports Viewing Popularity and Advertising Spend.
Bill C-218 can also revolutionize the way that Canadians consume sports. “Imagine in-game betting on your phone while sitting inside an arena (or while sitting at dinner with your family); and a crop of new shows and other sports networks dedicated to betting lines.” This way the casino market may see a reduction in market share lost to betting, soon becoming the in thing to do.