Canada Sports Betting Bill Clears Another Hurdle But Time Is Tight

Posted on May 26, 2021
Canada sports betting

Canada single-game sports betting continued its marathon journey through the legislature Tuesday.

Bill C-218 was read in the Canadian Senate on Tuesday evening and successfully referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.

The legislation would amend the Criminal Code of Canada to allow wagering on single events. At present, only parlays are allowed.

Good news for Canada sports betting

The Senate progression was a welcome development as stakeholders started to question whether the bill to legalize sports betting in Canada had lost momentum.

Bill sponsor Kevin Waugh said over the weekend it was just a 50/50 proposition.

Waugh said the bill had to come out of the legislature by June or it wouldn’t pass this year.

What next for Bill C-218?

The committee now conducts a review of the bill and reports back to the rest of the Senate.

The Senate does a third reading, then votes. If approved, the legislation goes back to the House for re-approval, then to the Governor General’s office for Royal Assent.

However, the Senate has about five weeks of potential sitting days before its summer recess. That could make things tight, especially if there are amendments to C-218.

Momentum renewed

While there are still several steps to go, stakeholders painted Tuesday’s development in an optimistic light.

Getting closer to the goal line,” tweeted theScore CEO John Levy.

Levy added in a statement:

“Following committee, we are optimistic that Bill C-218 will be swiftly passed at third reading in the Senate, receive Royal Assent and become law.”

What’s the opportunity for Canada sports betting?

TheScore estimates online gaming revenues in Canada could reach between $3.8 billion and $5.4 billion annually.

Of course, only around half of that is sports betting.  A large market also assumes the provinces allow a truly open Canada sports betting market.

Only Ontario has indicated it will so far. Other provinces could elect to maintain a lottery monopoly on sports betting.

For instance, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) issued a statement on Tuesday, urging the Senate to fast-track C-218.

BCLC chief exec Lynda Cavanaugh said: “Legalized single-event sports betting would support BCLC to shift play from unregulated websites to [its own site] PlayNow.com.”

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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