Although there were times that it seemed it didn’t have great odds of being approved, a bill making its way through Canada’s legislative maze has exited successfully. The Senate has approved Bill C-218, which will allow sports gamblers to place bets on single games, moving beyond the parlay bets as the only previous option. The final step before the bill can become law is for it to be approved through Royal Assent.
Canada Joins the 21st Century
Bill C-218 has been moving forward in Canada for the past several months and has had to overcome some challenges to finally stand on solid ground. The country’s Criminal Code included language that made it impossible for single-game wagers to be allowed, and the bill erases that block. Going forward, as soon as final approval is given, sports gamblers will be able to wager on the outcome of a sports event after the Senate approved the bill 57-20 yesterday. Those 20 who opposed it fall into the category of “people who don’t recognize that they can’t stop progress.”
Canadian lawmakers have been trying for over six years to find a way to introduce expanded sports gambling, but all of the efforts have repeated failed. There was even concern that this initiative might find the same outcome, with some concerned that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could stand in the way. However, as lawmakers realize the amount of economic damage Canada is incurring through offshore sportsbooks and COVID-19 recovery, they suddenly became more supportive of sports gambling expansion.
Provinces Ready to Go with New Gambling Options
Canadian provinces can now create their own frameworks for sports gambling and they’re not wasting any time. British Columbia, Ontario and others across the country began working on their regulations before Bill C-218 was approved and are ready to introduce new gambling options within weeks or months. They are looking at what some see as an industry segment worth as much as $5 billion in annual revenue, and that is making the provinces hungry to get their markets going.
The B.C. Lottery Corp. (BCLC) is making preparations and should be one of the first to introduce new gambling options. Sports gamblers should watch the organization’s PlayNow online portal for updates and can expect to see sportsbooks coming to area locations, including casinos and some hospitality venues. The province hasn’t indicated how soon it will have its regulations in place; however, it has repeatedly been on the front lines of any new gambling options it could introduce. A spokesman for the province’s Public Safety Ministry indicates that the BCLC is “positioned to allow single-event wagering online almost immediately” through its PlayNow portal.