House of Commons passes bill that would legalize single game betting
Lawmakers passed a bill to legalize sports betting on a single event on Thursday, sending the bill to the Senate.
The future law aims to amend the provisions of the Penal Code regarding games of chance on individual games of football, hockey and other sports, which is currently illegal except for horse racing.
Conservative MP Kevin Waugh’s private member’s bill comes after similar NDP legislation was launched in the House with all-party support nearly a decade ago, but sank into the Senate and died when the election was called in 2015.
A second attempt by NDP MP Brian Masse also failed after the then Liberal majority voted against his private member’s bill along with the Tories in 2016.
The third time may be the charm, after the Liberals rolled the dice last November on their own bill, which they then scrapped when Waugh agreed to incorporate his protections for the horse racing industry into his bill.
The bill, known as Bill C-218, has gained interim support from a tight-knit horse racing industry that remains wary of foreign casinos and gaming sites that intrude on his territory.
Betting in Las Vegas on single games would also eat into the multi-billion dollar black market by legally opening the books to players willing to spend money on individual games rather than betting on fixed odds around two games or more.
The original purpose of the ban was to reduce match-fixing – it’s easier to plan when there’s only one game to handle – but it became increasingly ineffective in the middle of the climb. power of offshore betting sites.
The bill passed third reading with all-party support on Thursday evening.
Legalized in the United States in 2018
Waugh thanked his fellow MPs for their cooperation on the bill and expressed hope he would not languish in the Senate.
“The Justice Committee’s study of this bill has highlighted the fact that legalizing single-event sports betting will create great economic opportunities for Canadian workers, businesses and employees. It will also ensure that provincial governments have access to the tools necessary to properly regulate sports betting. and implement consumer protection and problem gambling programs to protect Canadians, ”he said in a statement.
Justice Minister David Lametti said the Liberals “fully support these changes and look forward to seeing them move forward.”
“The proposed changes would help pull the profits of illegal betting from unique sporting events out of the hands of organized crime, and give provinces and territories the ability to regulate and redirect funds to our communities,” he said. stated in a press release sent by email.
More than two dozen U.S. states have moved to legalize single event betting after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal ban in 2018.
Waugh says the main purpose of Bill C-218 is to level the track globally against big foreign venues such as Bet365 and Bodog, which raise more than US $ 4 billion annually from Canadian punters, according to the Canadian Games Association.
Casinos could also benefit, but if the bill passes, it will be up to the provinces to decide how to regulate single-event betting.