The Canadian government has proposed legislation that will permit gamblers to bet on single sports games such as football or hockey. That was prompted by newly introduced legalization in US border states Michigan and New York regarding single-event sports betting. That has posed a threat to local casinos in the region where the practice is illegal, including Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario. The Canadian Gaming Association confirmed that locals spend CA$14 billion annually on offshore sports betting and the black market.

The Pandemic in 2020

Casinos around the world have suffered massive losses, laying off thousands of employees. In Canada, that has created a hole in government finances, with provincial budgets under strain. There is a compelling argument for the legalization of sports betting, as it will boost government revenue when the nation needs it most.

CA$14 Billion Lost Annually

The Canadian Gaming Association released figures that Canadian gamblers spend an estimated CA$14 billion a year on illegal betting sites and off-shore online operators. Neither provincial nor federal governments receive taxation revenue on that amount. All the money flows through illicit channels. If legislation is finalized, Canadian casinos and betting sites will have an even playing field with illegal sites. Now is the right time since many sports events have resumed after the pandemic interruption.

Level Playing Field

Sports betting makes up a substantial portion of the online business as a whole. Canadian companies will be able to compete with the same regulatory relationship. The industry has been clamouring for change while potential revenue is lost, unregulated and diverted to pirate operators off-shore. Canadians are losing any financial benefits they could be receiving.

The Current Situation

Canadians can currently legally gamble on limited sports betting types, namely, Parlay bets. They are compelled to bet on more than a single game and predict the winning team in a given contest. Only then will payout occur. Parlay winning odds are notoriously low, placing local operators at a disadvantage. Canadians spend close to CA$500 million on parlay bets every year with lotteries such as Pro-Line. Windsor and Niagara Falls in Ontario are communities with large casinos. MPs in those regions have been encouraging the federal government to amend the law in the Criminal Code regarding the restriction of gambling, in particular Parlays. That will give Canadian gambling operations a boost, increase taxation revenue, and provide funds at this time of need. Legal US casinos across the border and online off-shore, foreign-owned operators are the main challenge.

Bill C-13 – Amendment to the Criminal Code

The bill concerns single-event sports betting, and a bill was put before the House of Commons. It proposes to allow Canadian provinces to enable local operators to offer single-event sport betting products. It will be at each province’s discretion to manage single-event sports betting in their jurisdictions. The bill says that Canadians would have a legal and safer opportunity to wager in a regulated online or physical environment. Horse racing is an exception, as the bill proposes that the federal government maintains its role concerning pari-mutuel betting systems for horse racing.

Reason to be Cheerful

The Canadian Gaming Association was cheerful and optimistic that the proposed changes would go through. The Justice Minister recently introduced a government bill supporting single-event sports betting in Canada. The amendment to the Criminal Code has cross-party support; therefore, there are high expectations it will go through expediently until the process is complete. The pandemic has several and negatively impacted gambling in Canada. The change will be a much-needed boost to the gambling industry and Canadians as well.

Responsible Gambling & Benefits to the Community

Responsible gambling programs for iGaming are extensive. Thanks to advances in technology, online operators offer rigorous controls for recreating events and preventing underage and excluded play. The gaming industry in Canada contributes considerably to communities across Canada – it is increasingly technology-based and internationally-focused. It represents uniform manufacturers to global printing solutions providers and game technology companies. Present in every county region, gaming contributes to local communities and corporate neighbours who invest in the locations where they operate.

About The Canadian Gaming Association

The Canadian Gaming Association, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to advancing Canada’s gaming industry’s evolution. The association’s mandate is to promote gaming’s economic value in Canada by using research, innovation, and best practice to assist the sector in advancing; and create productive and meaningful dialogue among stakeholders. Membership of the association includes all facets of the gambling industry in Canada, including facility owners and casino operators, Crown agencies, manufacturers, and suppliers of goods and services.