Several betting activities were banned in Canada for many decades including single-game sports betting. However, new laws have emerged over time to permit gambling activities in the country. The single-game sports betting market is the next to enjoy this freedom as Federal law has given provinces in Canada the go-ahead to open up more gambling on sports.
However, the federal law, which took effect on August 27, does not open up the floodgates as it only permits provinces in Canada to regulate sports betting according to their desire. It is now legal to gamble on individual sporting events, which was earlier prohibited. Canadians were still betting on these events in offshore casinos in the past, and they spent billions of dollars every year despite the ban. The Federal government in Canada has now brought legitimacy to the industry such that citizens can gamble on these events legally in the country.
While speaking with on a news conference in Niagara Falls on the new law, David Lametti, Canadian Attorney General, stated that Canadians can now take part in single-event sports betting, albeit in a safe and regulated environment. With individual sports betting events now legal in Canada, the country will be able to retrieve a vast amount of money it had hitherto lost when the ban was still in effect. The money would have been generated in the form of tax from both gamblers and operators. The Federal government stated that its citizens spend about 10 billion dollars each year on single sporting events in the black market and an additional 4 billion dollars a year in the grey market (offshore). The government can now monitor the funds spent in the event.
Also speaking on the new development, MP of St. Catharines, Ontario, Chris Bittle, stated that Canadians have been betting on sports for long. Still, a fragment in the criminal code prevented them from betting on individual events. He then stated that the new law allows the government to take the money out from the black market managed by organized criminal networks and then control and regulate the money.
This bill for this law was brought forward to the parliament by Conservative MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood, Kevin Waugh. It was a bill from a private member, and it is known as Bill C-21. The bill won support in the parliament from all the main four parties despite being sponsored by the opposition. The bill later received royal assent by June end to make it official, but the governing Liberals did not attach a date to the implementation of the law until August.
Before Lametti announced the law at a news conference, Waugh stated that Canadians spent about 38 million dollars on offshore sportsbooks and gaming sites operated by criminal organizations. Thus, there was a need for a law to redirect the money into the country to boost business and create employment.
Six provinces in Canada currently allow parlay betting via provincial agencies. Bettors must bet on and predict the outcome of three or more different sporting events correctly to get a win. However, betting on a single event like the winner of the Grey Cup or the Super Bowl was previously not allowed in Canada through any of the regulated services. Opening up the individual-game betting market is considered the next step.
When the new law was announced, OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation released a statement that it would work in line with the new law and allow bettors in the province to bet on single games online from August 27. The CEO, Duncan Hannay, confessed that the Corporation has longed to permit adults in Ontario to play single-event sports for many years.
Many other stakeholders also commented on the new law. A Professor at Columbia University, New York, who also doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of Winning Streak Sports, noted that the move is long overdue. He argued that the money from gambling on the events will now be kept inside the country and province. Similarly, a gaming analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, Brian Egger, says the Canadian sports gambling market currently generates about 11 billion dollars and is set to double within five years.
It is expected that gambling on single-game events in Canada will generate lots of income for the federal government and the provinces. Ontario will be the largest market in the country. This will make the Canadian sports-betting market one of the largest in North America.