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Canadian Government backs single-event betting bill


The Canadian Government will introduce a bill to allow legal sports wagering on single events today (November 25), picking up the bill introduced earlier this month by Kevin Waugh MP.

The bill was initially introduced by Conservative Member of Parliament Kevin Waugh as Bill C-218, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, but will now be reintroduced by the Minister of Justice as  “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (single event sport betting)”.

The bill would repeal paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code, which states that sports betting is only legal if players bet simultaneously on at least three games or more.

In repealing this provision, the bill would allow Canadians to place bets on single sports events, as is widely available in other regulated jurisdictions.

Single-event wagering has already been backed by provincial lottery operator the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and media business Score Media and Gaming (theScore).

The Canadian Gaming Association said it was pleased to see the Government show its support for the bill.

“The CGA is pleased that the federal government has recognized the urgent need to amend the Criminal Code to offer safeguards to Canadians as well as an economic recovery tool for the provinces,” it said.

“By introducing a government bill, the industry can be assured that it will be dealt with in a timely manner and will benefit from all-party support to see it through.

It added that the economic benefit from allowing single-event wagering would be very significant as the country recovers from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Amending the Criminal Code to legalize single-event sports wagering will provide provinces with the necessary tools to deliver a safe and legal option to Canadians while enabling economic benefits to flow to licensed gaming operators, communities and provincial governments. 

“We can’t emphasize enough how this small change to the Criminal Code will help communities recover from the economic devastation of the Covid-19 shutdown.”

Major North American sports leagues have also publicly expressed their support for single-event sports betting.

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 the legislation.