A bill that would legalize single-event sports betting in Canada has passed its second reading in the Senate and will now advance to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.
Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, was passed by the House of Commons after its third reading in April, and had been waiting for Senate approval since.
If passed by the Committee, the bill will receive Royal Assent and become law, allowing operators to offer bets on individual sporting events, instead of only on multiples.
The news comes as the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) put pressure on the Senate to pass the bill before summer recess, which begins on June 26 and ends on September 20.
The bill was reintroduced to parliament in November 2020, following support from Canada’s government. Sponsored by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, the bill sought to amend paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code, which currently only allows sports betting if players bet on three or more games simultaneously.
Several major American sports leagues, including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL), voiced support for the bill in June last year.
Digital media company and betting operator theScore supported bill C-218 last June along with the BCLC, and again reiterated its support for the bill.
“With today’s passing of Bill C-218 on second reading in the Senate, we are now one important step closer to legalizing single event sports betting in Canada,” said John Levy, chief executive of theScore.
“Following committee, we are optimistic that Bill C-218 will be swiftly passed at third reading in the Senate, receive Royal Assent and become law.”