Canada Single-Event Sports Wagering Takes Another Step Forward
Single-event sports wagering is another step closer to becoming a reality in Canada after overwhelming support in the House of Commons.
Bill C-218 passed through House of Commons by a 303-15 vote at a second reading on Wednesday. The bill now enters the last phase of hearings with the House Justice Committee. Members can suggest changes to the bill while it’s before the Justice Committee.
The bill will then have to clear another vote in the House and make its way through the Senate, and then to the Governor-General for Royal Assent before it can officially become law.
Final approval for the bill could come as soon as May. Canada currently only allows for parlay betting. There is hope that single-event sports betting could be live before the NFL season.
“We’re very pleased with the successful outcome of the vote,” Paul Godfrey, a member of the Bragg Gaming Group, a business-to-business firm based in Toronto, said in a news release. “The overwhelming backing for the bill is a strong indication of Canadians’ overall support of the move to legalize single-event betting and a very positive step for both the legal gambling market in Canada and the overall economy.
”Not only will this bill ensure that profits from sports wagering go back into Canadian communities, rather than illegal black-market channels, but it will also secure Canadian jobs and create a safer, more regulated environment for Canadians.”
If passed as currently written, Canada’s long prohibition on betting on the outcome of single sporting events would come to an end. Provinces and territories in Canada would be responsible for regulating and licensing in-person businesses and websites that would allow single sports event wagering.
Bragg, casinos and other online gaming operators in Canada have supported the bill and other gaming opportunities to compete with the U.S. and international entities. Bill supporters have pointed out how it can curtail illegal gambling activities happening within the country. It has been estimated that Canadians bet $1.4 billion annually on the gambling black market, and that number could be conservative.
TheScore is on Board with the Bill
TheScore, one of the most well-known mobile sports media and betting apps based in Canada, projects that online gaming in Canada could produce between $3.8 billion and $5.4 billion in annual gross gaming revenue. Its projections are based on historical data extrapolated from legal online gaming markets in the U.S. and globally.
“Today’s development in the House of Commons, focusing on the legalization of single-event sports betting in Canada, is a significant step forward in the process to amend an outdated law,” John Levy, founder and CEO of theScore, said in a news release. “The positive outcome of today’s vote demonstrates the continuing momentum and strong cross-party support for this issue.
”We expect that the legalization of single-event sports betting will facilitate the introduction by provinces and territories of a much-needed modernized sports betting framework in their respective jurisdictions that can include important consumer protections and the ability to generate new revenue streams for provincial and territorial governments.”
TheScore has been active in the U.S., launching in Iowa on Tuesday. Iowa is the fourth state, joining New Jersey, Colorado and Indiana, where theScore Bet is live.
In anticipation of Canada moving forward with sports betting, on Feb. 4, just days before the Super Bowl, DraftKings and the NFL announced an agreement to expand their current daily fantasy sports and content partnership to Canada. The previous daily fantasy sports deal between DraftKings and the NFL was limited to the U.S. market.
“This expanded agreement gives us a unique opportunity in the Canadian market, and we look forward to working with the team at the NFL Canada as we continue to shape the modern fan experience,” Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer at DraftKings, said about the expanded deal.
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