On June 22nd, the Senate passed Bill C-218, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act.
Once the new legislation receives royal approval, Canada will officially regulate single-event sports betting after the two previous attempts have failed.
Keep reading to discover more details about the new sports betting laws and how you can take full advantage of the new regulations.
Let's dive right in.
Bill C-218 overviewThe new bill is the third attempt to legalize betting in Canada. When it was introduced, it was rivalled by the government-backed Bill C-13, which was introduced by David Lametti, the Minister of Justice.
Although C-218 replaced Bill C-13, they implemented the horse racing protection mentioned in the first legislative framework. That's how Lametti's bill passed the House of Commons reading and gathered national support.
The new bill will amend section 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code, which currently states that any bet made on races, fights, single-sport events or athletic contests is entirely prohibited. Although the initial version of C-218 aimed to remove section 207(4)(b) completely, the adaptation of bill C-13 led to an amendment instead.
The Senate has currently agreed to limit the prohibition to "bookmaking, pool selling or making record of bets on any horse race" that translates to fully legal single-event sports betting.
This is just a quick overview of the new Canadian betting legislation. If you want to learn more, we recommend an in-depth case study on bill C-218 from a Canadian gambling expert's point of view. Reading this should help you better understand the advantages that punters will get after the new law is enacted.
Major sports leagues that support the bill
For a long while, the Major North American sports leagues have insisted that the Canadian government legalizes single-event sports betting.
On June 8th, 2020, five professional sports organizations with Canadian franchises – the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Major League Baseball (MLB), the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Major League Soccer (MLS) – have sent a collective statement to the government.
The leagues demanded that the government supports an amendment to the federal laws that could authorize Canadian provinces to offer single-event betting. The statement was added to the first reading of Bill C-218 in the House of Commons.
Their argument was straightforward – illegal betting is already present in Canada, so developing a legal betting framework could increase the number of punters and protect existing ones from the risks of gambling on illicit platforms.
By allowing sports fans to bet on their favourite teams legally, both the major leagues and the federal government will generate more revenue and grow the view count for less popular events. Punters will also be happy since they can support their team and make some money at the same time.
The provincial rollout timeline (So far)
Legalizing sports betting in Canada opens the door for many provinces that are struggling with generating gambling revenue.
In true Canadian gambling spirit, the government has decided to allow each province to determine how they will implement the new legislation. So far, all regions have agreed that legal sports betting has a huge revenue potential that could help them improve other areas of development.
Since the introduction of Bill C-218 in February 2020, every province has been impatiently awaiting royal confirmation to legalize single-event sports betting officially. Some regions have already prepared the infrastructure for offering betting services to their citizens.
Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) and British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) have stated that they plan to release a dedicated mobile betting app on the first day that betting becomes legal. They have already invested millions in developing the app and researching the market, so there is no going back.
Ontario officials have announced that sports betting will play a crucial role in their new iGaming market. The Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) plans to collaborate with privately-owned casino platforms and extend their online betting coverage.
The AGCO has stated that international operators can offer their services in the province in exchange for a fee. Ontario's new iGaming market model is unique in Canada (until now). Still, if it works, more provinces will probably join the action and allow private platforms to run their business without worrying that they're operating illegally.
After Bill C-218 receives the royal consent, Justin Trudeau and his cabinet will declare the date when the legislation will be enacted. From that moment, the rollout to all the provinces will happen quickly, considering that many of them are already prepared to allow sports betting.
Specialists predict that the new gambling legislation will come into force before the recent major league seasons of 2022. Chronologically speaking, the MLB and MLS will be the first large North American championship on which Canadian fans will be allowed to place wagers.
The bottom lineThe new sports betting bill in Canada can potentially change the country's gambling landscape forever.
While we're not yet sure whether legal betting is good for society or not, one thing's for sure – punters will always find a way to place wagers, so prohibiting it is doing more harm than good.
Still, remember that Canada is in a grey legal area when it comes to casinos and sportsbooks. Therefore, Bill C-218 will create new lucrative opportunities for online operators, the government, and, most importantly, the Canadians who love watching sports.
When legal betting becomes available in your region, it's important to remember that gambling is a luck-based game, so you shouldn't view it as a source of income. Instead, you can consider it a great way to have fun and support your team without needing to use the money necessary to fulfil your basic needs.
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