The bill which would enable legal betting on single sports events in Canada moved forward as it entered its final passage to become federal legislation on Wednesday this week. Besides bringing vital tax revenue, the bill may also reduce the revenue which is otherwise wagered through offshore online sports betting websites.
Bill C-218 Enters Its Final Passage to Become Federal Legislation
The Canadian Bill C-218 which would enable legal betting on single sports events is now one step closer. The bill, known as “the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act” entered its final passage to become federal legislation on Wednesday this week. To enable legal sports betting on single events, the bill calls for an amendment to Canada’s Criminal Code by removing paragraph 207(4)(b). With the removal of this paragraph, if the bill passes federal legislation, the betting on single sports events will be legalized.
Considering that the bill is now one step closer, the Canadian Gaming Association was rather optimistic of the news, expressing hope that the bill will be passed as federal legislation. In a statement, the CGA said: “The CGA is pleased that the federal government has recognized the urgent need to amend the Criminal Code to offer safeguards to Canadians as well as an economic recovery tool for the provinces.”
Furthermore, the CGA added that since a government bill was introduced, the industry “can be assured that it will be dealt with in a timely manner“. Paul Burns, CEO of the Association outlined that the CGA is grateful for the government to step in to ensure the bill’s passage.
Single Event Legal Sports Betting Will Bring Vital Tax Revenue
The bill was introduced by MP Kevin Waugh earlier this month. Considering the severe economic impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, supporters of the change outlined that vital tax revenue would be brought if the bill passes federal legislation.
When Bill C-218 was introduced, the CGA CEO said that the opening of gaming facilities will serve as an economic stimulus. As a result, hundreds of new workplaces will be created. Furthermore, significant tax revenue will be raised for multiple cities across Canada.
Another point that Burns mentioned in support of the bill was that more than $4 billion is wagered through offshore online sports wagering websites and only $500 million is wagered through legal provincial sports lottery products in Canada. In other words, many Canadians are using offshore or even illegal and unregulated markets which can also be dangerous.
According to Burns, if Bill C-218 is passed, besides the tax revenue, the regulated sports wagering market will also “drive additional revenue through increased food and beverage sales, gaming activity” and will support jobs within the legal and regulated gaming industry in Canada.