The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has called on the Senate to prioritize a bill that will legalize single-event sports betting in Canada.
Also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, Bill C-218 was passed by the House of Commons at its third reading on on April 22 and is waiting for Senate approval before it can advance to the next stage.
Canada’s parliament passed the bill after its second reading in February.
Senate approval, which will allow the bill to go forward to receive Royal Assent and become law, would permit the BCLC – as a monopoly operator within the state – to offer single-event sports betting on its PlayNow site.
The BCLC said it wanted the bill to receive approval before the Senate begins its summer break, which starts on June 26 and lasts until September 20.
“Bill C-218 will provide BCLC with the ability to deliver safe, legal and regulated sports betting options to our players and– most importantly– in a way that prioritizes the health of our players,” said Lynda Cavanaugh, president and chief executive of the BCLC.
The BCLC estimates that it has lost up to $250m in revenue to unlicensed and unregulated betting operations in the last five years.
“Legalized single-event sports betting would support BCLC to shift play from unregulated websites to PlayNow.com, where numerous safeguards support healthy play and where revenue goes back to support B.C. communities,” Cavanaugh continued.
The bill, which was sponsored by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, was re-introduced to parliament in November last year, after the country’s government backed the bill. It aimed to challenge paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code, which at present allows sports betting only if players bet on three games or more simultaneously.
This is the second time the BCLC has called for the action to pass the bill, the first being in February