A bill has been introduced that would legalize single-game sports betting in Canada.

  • There is already one form of sports betting allowed in Canada.
  • Kevin Waugh introduced Bill C218, which would legalize single-game sports wagering in Canada.
  • U.S. border states have impacted sports bettors in Canada.

TORONTO, Canada – A new sports betting bill in Canada was introduced at Canada’s House of Commons which would allow for the legalization of sports betting in the country. The fight for legalizing sports betting has been ongoing in Canada.

The way the bill was introduced, however, uses the United States as leverage to persuade them to legalize sports betting sooner rather than later.

Canadian Sports Betting

Sports betting in Canada is legal, however, it must be done in a specific way. In order for bettors to place bets in Canada, they can only bet on parlay bets of three games or more. Canadian bettors can either go in person or they can bet online. Online sportsbooks must hold government-issued licenses.

Offshore sites that operate in Canada offer better odds to the typical sports bettor but they do however have strict regulations and limit the bet size. The Canadian government often ignores the offshore sites in order to focus more on its in-state policies.

Safe Regulated Sports Betting Act

The Safe Regulated Sports Betting Act, known as Bill C-218, was introduced this week at the House of Commons. This bill would legalize single-game sports betting across the country.

Kevin Waugh, a member of the Canadian Conservative Party, introduced the bill by pointing out that single-game sports betting already exists in the country.

“Let me be clear that single-event sport wagering already exists in this country, and if members do not think so, they are behind the curtains—The Canadian single-event sport wagering industry is worth over $14 billion, but most of it, 95% of it, exists underground on the black market or through offshore websites,” said Waugh.

Waugh continued to point out how these offshore and black market sportsbooks are in no way helping their economy.

“These are unregulated sport-wagering sites—none of that activity is subject to government regulations or taxes; none of it is creating jobs in this country or economic opportunities; and none of it is contributing to consumer protection, education, harm reduction initiatives or support services, which are badly needed in this country—by passing this bill we can put a stop to the billions of dollars going to organized crime and put that money back into our communities,” Waugh continued.

The legislation would amend the Criminal Code to repeal the Federal ban on single-sport betting. Waugh even mentions how the United States has allowed for sports betting.

“The United States has allowed it. Sports leagues like the NHL and NBA are in favor of sports betting being regulated. It is time this country follows forward,” Waugh said.

The Canadian Gaming Association has been fully supportive of Waugh during the introduction of C-218 in order to legalize sports betting.

“Amending the Criminal Code to legalize single-event sports wagering will provide provinces with the necessary tools to deliver a safe and legal option to Canadians,” said Paul Burns, Chief Executive of the CGA.

United States Impact

Of the 12 states on the border between the United States and Canada, five of them have fully legalized sports betting. Montana is the westernmost state of the five. Michigan is the next state over that has legalized sports betting.

In the northeastern part of the United States, there are three states on the border that allow for sports betting: New York in 2019,  Pennsylvania in 2018 and New Hampshire in 2019.

Michigan recently became the fifth state on the border to have it legalized. This is forcing Canada to open its eyes. It is making it easier for Canadians to cross the border and place bets. Mobile and online betting strengthen that issue as Canadian citizens would not even have to go to a retail sportsbook as they would be able to do it right from their phones.

Other than the states that have already legalized sports betting, there are four more potential states on the border that could legalize sports betting.

  • Washington State
  • Ohio
  • Vermont
  • Maine

Canada would benefit from this as well. It would allow for those American’s in border states that sports betting is not legal, to travel north and place their bets.

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