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BCLC urges government to pass single-event betting amendment


Canadian provincial lottery operator the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has thrown its backing behind a bill that proposes legalizing single-event sports betting in the country.

Introduced in the Canadian House of Commons in November of last year, C-13 seeks to amend paragraph 207(4)‍(b) of the Criminal Code to make it lawful for bets to be placed on a single sports or athletics event.

At present, Canada’s Criminal Code permits consumers to only wager on at least three games or more, meaning that a wager on a single match or event is illegal.

However, support for single-event betting has increased in recent months, with the BCLC having previously voiced its support for legalization of this form of wagering, along with media business Score Media and Gaming (theScore).

“Our players have wanted single-event sports betting for a long time,” BCLC director of eGaming Stewart Groumoutis said. “For example, this weekend is the Super Bowl and our players want to be able to simply bet on the winner, which they are unable to do under the current legislation.

“We’re encouraging the federal government to modernize laws so we can provide single-event betting to our players and generate additional revenue to support provincial programs.”

The BCLC also noted that current rules mean the only way for players in British Colombia to place single-event sports bets is by going across the border into the US to casinos in Washington, or wager via unregulated off-shore websites. This, it said, means the Canadian province misses out on tax income.

However, if single-event sports betting is legalized, the BCLC said play would then shift to casinos in British Colombia, as well as its licensed online gambling platform.

BCLC added that single-event sports betting would generate between CAN$125m and CAN$175m in additional revenue through online and land-based operations.

Bill C-13, which had its first reading late last year, is similar the bill put forward by Conservative Member of Parliament Kevin Waugh in February 2020.

Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, also proposed amending paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code to permit single-event betting,

Aside from gambling operators, a number of major sports leagues have also voiced their support for single-event sports betting in Canada.

The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), National Basketball Association (NBA); National Hockey League (NHL); Major League Soccer (MLS); Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Canadian Football League (CFL) have all hailed efforts to allow legal betting in the country.