Canada Sports Betting Bill Receives House Of Commons Approval

Posted on April 22, 2021
Canada sports betting

A bill repealing the ban on single-game sports betting in Canada is on to the next step.

The House of Commons adopted C-218 on its third reading Thursday evening. The bill would enable provincial governments to regulate sports betting in Canada.

“One thing I find attractive about this legislation is the fact this activity is already going on and an opportunity for the government to get involved and generate revenue when done in a legal way,” Member of Parliament Mark Gerretsen said prior to third reading.

Canada sports betting bill moves to Senate

The bill now moves to the Senate. Member of Parliament Brian Masse said he is working with colleagues in the Senate and encouraged the rest of the House of Commons members to as well.

Bill sponsor Kevin Waugh praised his colleagues for the past several months of working on the legislation:

“Since I brought it this could prove to be a historic day for our country, the passage of C-218 would be a clear indication that the elected representatives of the people of Canada believe this is in the best interest of all Canadians, I am hopeful that the colleagues in the Senate will take up this legislation in haste so this outdated prohibition can finally be removed from the Criminal Code of Canada. It is well past time we do so.”

If the bill becomes law, the regulation of sports betting in Canada would be done at a provincial level.

C-218’s journey started in 2020

Waugh launched C-218 as a private member bill early in 2020.

The bill was introduced as government legislation in November 2020.

The bill’s second reading in February passed 303-15. Before then, there was a competing sports betting bill, C-13, that was abandoned.

Canada betting landscape

Sports betting has been legal in parts of Canada, albeit only via parlays through the lottery.

The nation generated an estimated $242 million in 2019 gross gaming revenue.

Sports betting, however, made up 1% of that estimate.

How big could the sports betting market be?

There’s an estimated $14.5 billion CAD bet on sports each year, but just $500 million is through provincial lotteries, according to the Canadian Gaming Association.

A February report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) outlined the impact of single-game betting. Within two years of legalized single-game wagering, PwC estimates the market could reach up to $2.4 billion CAD.

A Deloitte Canada report recently estimated Canadians could legally wager up to $28 billion within five years.

The most significant piece would be Ontario. Its population would make it the sixth-largest state in the US.

Who’s ready for Canada?

Perhaps best poised to capture Canadian market share is Toronto-based theScore.

It is a top-tier sports media company in Canada, so its brand awareness could help achieve better than its mid-tier sports betting status in the US.

“This is our home turf,” theScore President and COO Benjie Levy said during a recent earnings call. “Ontario is home base and tremendous user base and more importantly we have a brand and legacy relationship with customers that goes back 20 years. We just can’t wait to unleash the power of that when the market opens up.”

Other operators keen on the Great White North

BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt acknowledged the significant opportunity and said the sportsbook will be active.

DraftKings expanded its NFL daily fantasy sports deal earlier this year to include Canada. The company’s DFS audience helped it become a top sportsbook operator in the US.

Caesars, which just closed its deal to acquire William Hill, operates Caesars Windsor in Ontario.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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