Canada Soon A Legal Sports Betting Market - August 2021

By Ben Hamill - April 12 2021

Canada Soon A Legal Sports Betting Market

The passing of Bill C-218 is beginning to now look like a more likely event than ever before. And according to Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns, bringing single-event sports betting out of the offshore dark and into the regulated light will be the best thing yet for casino operators and Canadian bettors alike.

The North American market is an especially attractive one, says Burns, and mostly due to the dynamic that is Ontario. The fifth largest jurisdiction, it’s a market roughly 14.5 million people large – people who mostly have a working knowledge of and keen interest in sports – especially hockey. Larger than Michigan and Pennsylvania, and with more people than New Jersey, it isn’t rocket science to do the math of a likelihood of success.

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Name-Brand Interest

Ready and merely waiting for the sports betting curtain to drop are several renowned online gaming and betting providers. Expected to play a role once single-event sports betting has been legalised in the country are the OLG, FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBets, and theScore Bet. The only piece of the puzzle still missing at this point is the say-so from Ottawa.

Once a regulated market, sports bettors will enjoy quite the menu of options, says Burns. These will include “traditional” sports like the NFL, MLB, and NBA, but also expanded offerings such as the NHL (hockey), golf, soccer, cricket, and tennis – and not forgetting home-based leagues such as the CFL and CPL.

Getting hockey right will be important, said Burns. Since Canadians have a super high knowledge base for the sport, with hockey games being played nearly every other night of the week, this will be where the sports betting magic is at. Canadian hockey fans are market all on their own, said the CGA president, with fans of Canadian hockey likely to be fans not only of the Leafs or the Canadiens, but also of Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.

The possibilities are endless.

Bringing The Money Home

The idea is to move Canadian sports bettors away from unregulated, off-shore sites, explains Burns. It isn’t as if sports betting is coming to Canada for the first time ever; or going away anytime soon; it’s only that Canadians will now enjoy the benefits of a licensed, regulated, and tax-paying sector.

Ultimately, it’s all about bringing the estimated $14 billion Canadians are spending annually supporting off-shore bookmakers and illegal gambling operations home. And it’s something that may become a reality as early as this year.

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