Canada’s senate has passed a bill allowing single-event sports betting, rather than only bets on multiples.
Bill C-218, known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, was approved by a vote of 57-20 on Tuesday.
Reintroduced to parliament in November 2020, the bill aimed to repeal paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code, which states that sports betting is legal only if bettors place wagers on three or more sports games simultaneously.
The bill was sponsored by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, who reacted positively to the news of its passing.
“The passage of my Private Member’s Bill to legalize single-event sports betting in the Senate is a victory for Canadian sport, sport fans, and businesses,” Waugh said.
“This bill is a win for Canadian taxpayers, workers, and sports fans. Canada’s Conservatives will continue to put forward common-sense bills that create economic opportunities and help Canadians.”
The bill advanced to the Senate after approval from Canada’s House of Commons in April, and passed on its third reading without amendment.
It received support from Canada’s government and several high-profile associations, including provincial lottery operator the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), who pressed the government to pass the bill in February.
“This is a huge win for PlayNow.com players, and British Columbians overall,” said Lynda Cavanaugh, BCLC’s interim president and CEO.
“We’re excited to soon provide our players these new offerings on PlayNow.com.”
Media company theScore voiced support for the bill in June 2020, before it was reintroduced into parliament.
“The Senate’s passing of Bill C-218 earlier today is an historic moment for Canada as it will legalize single event sports betting,” said theScore chairman and CEO, John Levy.
“The passing of this important legislation allows theScore, along with our fellow stakeholders, to collectively usher in a robust industry that will drive business, technology innovation, employment and economic growth while providing a safe and trusted environment in which Canadians can wager on sports.”
Several major North American sports leagues have also publicly spoken out in approval of the bill, while a number of U.S operators have already began to establish a presence in the Canadian market.
Earlier this month, sportsbook operator PointsBet appointed Nick Sulsky to oversee a betting expansion plan in Canada, and BetMGM partnered with National Hockey League legend Wayne Gretzky to pre-empt its entry into the Canadian market.
The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) released a statement commending the bill’s passing in the Senate.
“This is a major milestone and achievement for the Canadian gaming industry,” said Paul Burns, president and CEO of the CGA.
“The need for regulation, oversight, player protection, and the creation of economic benefits for Canada was understood by everyone involved in the legislative process, which is why the Bill was successfully passed.”
The bill must receive royal assent before becoming law.