As of August 27th, single-game sports gambling will officially be legal in Canada. The legislation goes into effect following the Royal Assent of Bill C-218 at the end of June, now putting the responsibility for regulating and managing sports gambling on the individual provinces and territories.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti made the announcement on Thursday, August 12th, from a news conference at Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario, stating,
“I am pleased to announce that single event sport betting will be legal in Canada on August 27. Canadians will have the opportunity to participate in single event sport betting in a regulated and safe environment, at the discretion of the provinces and territories. The Government of Canada will continue discussions on the future of gaming, collaboratively with provincial and Indigenous partners,”
Conservative Member of Parliament and Saskatchewan Roughriders fan Kevin Waugh sponsored the legislation, which received a total of 57 votes for, 20 votes against, and 5 abstentions in the Senate’s final vote.
It has been legal to place parlay bets in Canada for some time now, but single-game wagers have remained illegal. Per the Canadian Gaming Association, approximately $500 million is wagered annually through legal Canadian sportsbooks, while more than $10 billion is wagered annually through illegal Canadian bookmakers. Additionally, more than $4 billion is wagered annually through offshore online sports wagering sites. Rather than continuing to fuel a black market by keeping single-game wagers illegal, this new legislation looks to funnel money that would have been spent illegally gambling into legal sportsbooks, making it taxable, creating jobs, and more.
The CFL, NHL, and many more professional sports organizations in Canada have embraced the legislation, as it will bring some much-needed revenue in a time of financial recovery from the pandemic. CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has called the legislation “a vital economic tool” for the league, and It is estimated that the passing of these new gambling laws will bring roughly $20 million to the CFL, helping mitigate some of the financial losses the league has experienced in recent years.
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