The Canadian parliament has moved a step nearer passing a bill for The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, with the Canadian Gaming Association optimistic that Bill C-218 will become federal legislation.
Confirming that Ottawa’s House of Commons is set to undertake a final review of the bill, the CGA said in a statement: “The CGA is pleased that the federal government has recognized the urgent need to amend the Criminal Code to offer safeguards to Canadians as well as an economic recovery tool for the provinces.”
In November, the Commons heard the second reading of Bill C-218, which had been formally tabled by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh and bill author Brian Masse, MP for Windsor West (Ontario).
Earlier this year, the CGA led a coalition of North American professional sports – including the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS Soccer and Canadian Football Leagues – imploring the government to fast-track legislation for single sports betting.
Canadian casinos are also backing the bill, while trade unions believe a regulated sports-betting framework could be launched by the second half of 2021.
Another key figure hopeful of seeing new betting legislation is Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who has said that the appetite of Canada’s most populous province could no longer be met alone by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp, which currently enjoys a monopoly.
Ontario’s Treasury estimated that residents had to date spent around CA$500m on unlicensed websites, something Waugh cited in support of Bill C-218.
“We can’t emphasize enough how this small change to the Criminal Code will help communities recover from the economic devastation of the COVID-19 shutdown,” said the CGA. “We will continue to update the industry as this bill moves forward.”