Canadian Sports Betting

  • Canada could have legal sports betting in 2021 as a bill that would make the pastime legal has been reintroduced to Parliament.
  • Canadians wager an estimated billions of dollars with outsider sportsbooks every year which is all money lost in potential revenue for the country.

NEW YORK – The topic of legal single-game sports betting is back on the table in Canada with a new bill that would legalize the activity.

This week the House of Commons was formally re-introduced to Bill C-218- The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act after its initial introduction in February. The main push behind wanting to make gambling on sporting events a legal pastime in Canada is the need for revenue in a post-COVID-19 environment.

This is the nucleus of bill sponsor and MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood Kevin Waugh’s argument for the House.

What The CGA Has To Say

The President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), Paul Burns, is in agreeance that a passage for a Canadian sports betting market to become law would serve as a great relief when combating the problems that the Coronavirus Pandemic has created for the country.

“Helping a gaming facility to open a sports book will serve as an economic stimulus, create hundreds of employment opportunities, and generate a significant new tax revenue stream for cities across Canada. Parliament should come together and help push this change through before the chance is lost to another election,” said Burns.

Burns went on to describe the benefits the new industry would have on both consumers and the economy as a whole.

“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 while enabling economic benefits to flow to licensed gaming operators, communities, and provincial governments. I can’t emphasize enough how this small change to the Criminal Code would help communities recover from the economic devastation of the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown.”

What’s Next For The Bill?

Bill C-218- The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act could help provinces across the country to be eligible to profit from a new revenue stream on an individual basis.

Much like what the United States has done, sports betting would be made legal on a province-to-province basis like the US is on a state-to-state one. Canadians wager billions of dollars a year on sports, all of which is lost money for the country without a legal industry of its own.

According to the CGA, an estimated $4 billion is wagered through the use of offshore sports betting platforms. By comparison, the country makes a meager $500 million in legal lottery sales.

Revenue could skyrocket by leaps and bounds if provinces were allowed to offer single wager sports betting as is what’s being proposed. Even if Canada were to see a quarter of the estimated business currently happening, that’s still $1 billion.

Who Backs This Legislation?

Score Media and Gaming, Inc. has spoken up in favor of the bill receiving passage into law. The company is a big presence in the United States with theScore Bet application to gamble on sports matchups.

“We strongly support this bill to amend Canada’s outdated federal laws and give sports fans the choice to wager on single events,” said John Levy, Founder and CEO of Score Media. “Canadians deserve a modernized, regulated, and competitive sports betting market, and the reintroduction of this bill is another important step in that direction. As Canada’s leading independent digital sports media brand, and with an active and growing U.S. sportsbook business, we are very excited about the potential opportunities around regulated sports betting here. When the opportunity arises, we will be ready to offer our award-winning sportsbook, theScore Bet, to fans on our home turf.”

Canadian sports organizations are also behind a push to legalize sports wagering. In June, professional sports leagues in the country joined together to write a joint letter that they then sent to the three-top people in Parliament.

Within the letter, teams expressed the belief that their profit margins would increase with fan engagement and wider fanbases, helping to counteract the financial problems they incurred from COVID-19 shutdowns.

Now What?

With the reintroduction of the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, Parliament will have a lot to consider, especially now that the Coronavirus debt could possibly catapult them into a favorable decision.

Receiving a new and highly lucrative revenue stream while keeping consumers safe in the process is a win/win for the country. Now, if Parliament ends up feeling the same way, Canada could see some kind of a traditional legal sports betting market come 2021.

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