Canada Single-Game Sports Betting To Go Live On Aug. 27
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Canadians will finally be granted the opportunity to wager on single sports. Single-event sports betting in Canada will launch across the country on Aug 27. David Lametti, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, made the official announcement on Thursday afternoon in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
“I am pleased to announce that single-event sport betting will be legal in Canada on Aug. 27,” Lametti said. Currently, only parlay wagering – the combining of a number of bets into one play – is considered a legal form of sports betting under the Canadian Criminal Code.
Bill C-218, The Safe And Regulated Sports Betting Act, passed through the Senate of Canada on June 22. It received Royal Assent from the office of the Governor-General of Canada on June 29. By establishing a launch date, the Canadian government finalized the process of making the bill a law.
The regulation of single-game sports betting will be up to the discretion of each province and territory with the exception of horse racing, which remains under the regulation and supervision of the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency.
“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,” Lametti explained.
The formula is similar to how sports betting is operating in the United States since it was legalized in that country in 2018. The decisions on whether to legalize sports betting and how to implement and regulate the operation of a sports betting system were left up to each individual state.
Questions about how sports betting will work across Canada remain relatively unanswered, however. Will betting in some provinces be limited to the current government-run sites such as Proline in Ontario and PlayNow in B.C.? Will wagering be restricted to pro sports, or will betting lines be offered on amateur sports such as junior hockey and Canadian university sports?
Lametti indicated that the determination of what types of sports bets and betting markets are provided will be left entirely to the discretion of each province.
“My understanding is that will be up to the provinces,” Lametti said.
Early Advantage To Provincial Lottery Corporations
Certainly, the two-week turnaround to the launch of single-sports betting will make it difficult, if not impossible, for private sports betting entities and sportsbooks to be licensed and operational by Aug. 27. This is clearly designed to give the government-run betting sites operated by provincial lottery corporations a leg up as competition begins for the single-sports betting dollar.
“ BC sports betting, they’re ready to go,” said Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, the man behind Bill C-218. “They were just waiting for the Government rubber stamp.”
Major Sportsbooks Eye Canada Market
Several gambling entities both within and outside of Canada are lining up to get into the Canadian market. Australian-owned sportsbook PointsBet, already a powerful presence in the U.S market, recently appointed former Rogers senior vice-president Scott Vanderwel as chief executive officer for PointsBet Canada.
Penn National Gaming recently completed a $2 billion purchase of Canadian media giant theScore, which includes theScore Bet sports betting app. In Canada, retail casinos, racetracks and even some mainstream media outlets are plotting entry in the Canadian single-sports betting market.
Richard Taylor, president of Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario, indicated that they would be pursuing a sports betting license but won’t be ready by Aug. 27.
“It’s all happened so quickly,” Taylor said. “We do have plans. It’s going to be a wonderful addition to our resort experience.”
The Canadian Gaming Association estimates that Canadians spend approximately $10 billion per year on single-event sport betting conducted illegally through organized crime, and approximately $4 billion through offshore internet sites that are not provincially regulated. The CGA also estimated that the two-month delay between Royal Assent and setting a launch date for single-sports betting cost Canadian governments approximately $1 billion in gaming revenue lost to unregulated sites.