Canada’s federal government is taking steps to legalize single event gambling, as the practice is intensifying in the neighboring United States and the nation’s gambling industry is grappling with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Canadian Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti introduced legislation on Thursday calling for the decriminalization of single-event sports betting in Canada.
If the bill gains traction and passes, it would amend paragraph 207 (4) (b) of the Canadian Penal Code and authorize provinces and territories to create regulatory frameworks and place single event bets online and / or at physical locations like casinos. Bettors will be able to place bets on all sporting events except horse racing.
The federal government will maintain its role in matters related to mutual betting in horse racing under the recently introduced bill.
Minister Lametti said in a statement that his proposed amendments “will help create a safe and regulated environment for Canadians who wish to participate in single event sports betting. “
Currently, parlay betting is the only legal betting option in Canada. It allows bettors to place a single sports bet that involves two or more bets combined into one. According to recent reports, Canadians bet around C $ 500 million in parlay bets every year.
However, although not allowed, single event betting in Canada is believed to be an industry of C $ 14 billion, and the money is distributed through illegal bookmakers and betting operations abroad.
The government hoped to speed up the process
The Canadian gambling industry has quickly become optimistic towards the possible legalization of single event betting. It is believed that the practice, if legalized, can relieve some of the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had in the sector.
Casinos across the country have been closed for the second time this year as a second wave of the coronavirus has prompted new restrictions in provinces and territories.
On the proposed legalization of single event gambling, Canadian Gaming Association Executive Director Paul Burns said the nation’s gaming industry has been “severely impacted by Covid-19, so having access to this new product will help in the recovery of the industry. “ He also urged the government to “move quickly” through the legalization process so that new revenue and tax dollars can be generated.
Liberal MP Chris Bittle said on Twitter that legalizing single event gambling will help Canada keep gambling money away from the thriving black market. He noted that “instead of creating jobs and boosting our local tourism industry, sports betting alone has been a black market that has evaded taxes and directed funds to organized crime. “
The legislator added that authorizing the practice presents an opportunity for its industry to “compete with the border states and keep some of the C $ 14 billion that Canadians spend on black market sports betting here in Canada.”
Earlier this year, five major North American professional sports leagues made a joint call for the Canadian government to allow single event betting, as the practice “already occurs illegally” in the country and “a legal and regulated sports betting market […]
it would be beneficial to sports and their fans. “