• Canada will be holding a hearing on Thursday to decide whether to move forward on a bill that would legalize single-event sports gambling in the country.
  • Bill C-218 would allow provinces to decide if they want to offer their residents access to legal sportsbooks.
  • Rough estimates show revenue from a legal sports wagering market in Canada bringing in anywhere from $125 million to $175 million.

OTTAWA – Canada is getting closer and closer to having its own market for legal sports betting with the next hearing on the topic set for Thursday.

Canadians have spoken in favor of making single-game sports wagering a legalized pastime in the country. Through Bill C-218, the present Criminal Code that prohibits gambling on sporting events would be amended so that any province interested in offering sportsbooks could do so on a province-to-province basis.

Having Bill C-218 amend the Criminal Code is much like the U.S. repealing PASPA in 2018 to allow states the choice on whether or not to legalize sports betting on a state-by-state basis. This bill would act in the same manner, just on a province-to-province basis for Canadians.

What’s On The Docket For Canada & Legal Sportsbook Legislation

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights last spoke on Bill C-218 on March 9. The next meeting on March 25 should be the third hearing that the proposal will have received in front of Parliament. During this time, it will be better known if the bill will pass or fail as a vote will be taken on it. Should it pass by majority vote, it would require the approval of the Governor-General for Royal Assent before it can be enacted as law.

Canada has tried on countless occasions for over a decade to get a legal sports betting industry. This time feels different though, as so many big names have made it a point to come forward with testimony as to why legalization should occur.

Professional leagues in the country, as well as the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) all believe that Canada sports betting is needed for the country to be a competitive market with the rest of the world. Billions of dollars are bet on sports in Canadians every year – so much so that conservative estimates of annual revenue on the industry have a figure set at roughly $125- $175 million.

Brick-and-mortar and mobile sportsbooks would be eligible for provinces to legalize should Bill C-218 pass. A study was requested at the last meeting to better research what a legal sports gaming industry would do to and for the country. Researchers were given a budget of $2,650 to have the information ready for next week’s meeting before a vote is done.

What’s Next?

At next week’s meeting, the Canadian Football League Players’ Association (CFLPA) has been requested by Parliament to be in attendance. The CFLPA is in favor of the legalization of single-game sports betting. With the research done through the study, there will be clause-by-clause evaluations of each part of what a potential market would look like for Canada.

With all of this uncertainty, one thing is clear, Canada is closer than ever to legal sports betting and by next week it will be known if 2021 is the year that will make it all happen.

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