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Canada single-event sports betting bill heads to Senate after Commons approval


A bill seeking to legalize single-event sports betting in Canada is to move to the Senate for further discussions after it was approved by the country’s House of Commons.

Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, secured approval at its third reading in the Commons last night (April 22), following passage at its second reading in February.

Approval clears the way for the bill to progress forward to the Senate, edging the country one step closer to legal single-event sports wagering.

Sponsored by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, the bill was re-introduced to parliament in November last year, with the aim of repealing paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code.

The Code currently states that sports betting is only legal if players bet simultaneously on at least three games or more, meaning consumers are not able to legally bet on single games, events or matches.

The Canadian government gave its backing to the bill in November, while a host of leading sports and gambling organisation have also spoken out in support of the bill.

Canadian provincial lottery operator the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) in February urged the government to pass the bill, while media business theScore has also spoken out in support of single-event betting, with its chief executive John Levy backing the bill last month.

“We commend the members on all sides of the House of Commons for quickly passing this much-needed legislation,” Levy said, responding to last night’s vote. “This development is a major step forward and we are increasingly encouraged by the widespread industry and strong cross-party support that Bill C-218 has garnered.

“Now that Bill C-218 has been passed by the House, we look forward to the Senate swiftly carrying the ball over the goal line.”

The bill also has the backing of the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), while leading North American sports leagues have publicly expressed their support for single-event sports betting in the country.

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 voiced their support for legal betting.