Canadian Senate Passes Sports Betting Bill C-218
The Canadian Senate has passed Bill C-218, which will allow for single-event wagers. At present, only parlay betting is permitted. The bill, which was passed without any amendments, is expected to open the market up.
Kevin Waugh, a member of the House of Commons, first sponsored Bill C-218 in the early stages of last year. Thereafter, the bill was introduced as official legislation in November 2020, and the House of Commons officially passed it in April of this year. Before passing the bill, Senate considered making two amendments to it: one that would criminalise match-fixing and another that would explicitly include First Nations in sports betting. Neither one of these amendments were passed.
Major Milestone For The Industry
The industry’s reaction to the approval of Bill C-218 has been positive. As soon as the results of the Senate’s vote were made public, the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) issued a statement calling the bill a major milestone for Canada’s gaming industry. Paul Burns, the President and CEO of the CGA, said that the bill was passed because everyone involved in the legislative process understands the need for regulation.
Carrie Kormos, the Chair of the CGA, said that this bill provides an element of competitiveness for an industry that needs help after being severely impacted by the global health crisis.
Previously Only Parlay Betting Allowed
Sports betting has been permitted in Canada for quite some time, but up until this point, it has been very restrictive. Those who want to place any bets have had to do so in a parlay of at least three events. This means that if one portion of their bet loses, so does the rest of the bet. Up until now, single-event bets have not been legal.
Every year, Canadians wager roughly CAD500 million on legal parlay bets. While this is a big number, it pales in comparison to the CAD14.5 billion that they bet annually overall. This indicates that they are placing bets elsewhere. Now, it is expected that Canada will become an extremely competitive market and that Ontario will become its most coveted province.
Some of Canada’s leading operators have already begun to position themselves to take as much of the market share as possible. DraftKings and the NFL extended their sports partnership to include Canada in February and Bet MGM signed Wayne Gretzky as a brand ambassador in an attempt to gun for the country’s hockey supporters.