Analysis

Canada paves way for sports-betting regulation

Canada has taken another step towards regulating its sports betting industry with a new bill to allow wagering on single events late last week.

U.S. betting brands will be keen to enter a promising new market on their doorstep.

The bill was first known as Bill C-218. Now renamed an ‘Act to amend the Criminal Code (single event sport betting)’, it will repeal the country’s current statute that sports betting is legal only if consumers bet on at least three games or more.

Once enacted, it will enable players to bet on single sports events.

This would match what is on offer in regulated U.S. jurisdictions such as Illinois or New Jersey.

Details of the regulations are still unknown.

But they could mirror those of the U.S. in some key aspects, such as the requirement that betting brands partner with local land-based casinos to offer their products.

Positive prospect

The prospect of Canadian provinces regulating sports betting is an enticing one for U.S. and Canadian sportsbook operators.

Until now, only Canadian provincial lotteries such as the British Columbia Lottery Corporation or Ontario Gaming Corporation have been allowed to offer single event wagering.

They also offer online poker and casino games.   

Canada however has also long been a target market for offshore operators offering bets on the NFL, NHL or NBA.

Trade and sports support

Major U.S. sports leagues have expressed support for the legislation.

The Canadian Gaming Association said it was pleased to see the Government show its support for the bill.

“The CGA is pleased that the federal government has recognized the urgent need to amend the Criminal Code to offer safeguards to Canadians as well as an economic recovery tool for the provinces.

The government said it expected speedy progres for the bll which has all-party support.

The bill shows how sports betting in North America is now thoroughly accepted.

It will give hope to bill proponents in New York and elsewhere which are lobbying for more liberal – read mobile – sport betting

The CGA added that single-event betting would provide legal security to Canadians while also “enabling economic benefits to flow”.

Beneficiaries will include licensed gaming operators, communities and provincial governments. 

“We can’t emphasize enough how this small change to the Criminal Code will help communities recover from the economic devastation of the Covid-19 shutdown,” the CGA said.

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Jake Pollard

Jake Pollard is an experienced journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and betting industry for many years. He has written for the leading media outlets as well as operators and suppliers in the igaming space. His current areas of focus are wide-ranging and include regulatory developments in the US, emerging markets in South America and how European countries are adapting to a decade of igaming regulation.

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