Legal single-event sports betting is coming to Canada following passage of Bill C-218 in the Senate yesterday. The bill, which permits each province to approve single-game wagering, was voted in 57-20 with five abstentions and could enable the first legal wagers to be placed this year.
With just the formality of Royal Assent to be confirmed, the bill’s passage paves the way for sportsbook operators to work with provincial partners. It will be up to individual Canadian jurisdictions to regulate, approve and license sportsbooks.
Responding to the news, Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) President and CEO Paul Burns said: “This is a major milestone and achievement for the Canadian gaming industry. The CGA has been working to legalize single-event sports betting for more than 10 years and Bill C-218 benefited from a groundswell of broad stakeholder support from across Canada.
“The need for regulation, oversight, player protection, and the creation of economic benefits for Canada was understood by everyone involved in the legislative process, which is why the Bill was successfully passed.”
In its statement, the CGA also noted the contribution of the many government leaders, individuals and organizations that led to the successful passage of Bill C-218.
It wrote: “In particular, the CGA would like to thank Kevin Waugh, MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood, the Bill’s sponsor in the House, and Senator David Wells, the Bill’s sponsor in the Senate, as well as Brian Masse, MP for Windsor West, who has been a long-time advocate.
“The CGA would also like to recognize the late Gord Brown, MP from Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes who, prior to his sudden death, was a tireless champion of single-event sports betting.”
Yesterday’s landmark development was also lauded by Score Media and Gaming Inc Chairman and CEO John Levy. He stated: “The Senate’s passing of Bill C-218 earlier today is an historic moment for Canada as it will legalize single event sports betting. We thank MP Kevin Waugh and Senators David Wells and Brent Cotter for championing this Bill, which garnered strong all-party support through both the House of Commons and Senate.
“The passing of this important legislation allows theScore, along with our fellow stakeholders, to collectively usher in a robust industry that will drive business, technology innovation, employment and economic growth while providing a safe and trusted environment in which Canadians can wager on sports.
“The forthcoming legalization of single event sports betting presents a substantial growth opportunity for our integrated media and betting business. We have been actively preparing for the expansion of online sports betting and igaming in our home province of Ontario, which is expected to commence later this year, and we are very favorably positioned to succeed given our mobile betting experience and vast active user base. Further, we are excited to broaden our relationship with the millions of loyal fans who already know, trust and engage with theScore app across Canada.”
Levy added that Canadians will now be able to reap the numerous benefits resulting from a comprehensive, regulated sports betting framework that protects consumers, creates jobs and generates critical tax revenue.
“The passing of this legislation is momentous, and we are confident that Canada will embrace legal sports betting and become a leader in this rapidly developing and cutting- edge industry,” he said. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the provinces to ensure the establishment of a safe marketplace that provides a suite of reliable and trusted options for consumers.”