Senates Passes C-218: Legal Mobile Sportsbooks to Compete in Canada.
It’s all-but official. The Canadian government is moments away from legalizing single-event sports betting. Not only will we be able to bet on single game results, we’ll be able to do it with a variety of competing bookmakers, online and on land. It’s truly a historic moment for the Great White North, with Royal Assent the only perfunctory step left to the finish line. According to officials, the first bets could be recorded before the end of 2021.
Legal Mobile Sportsbooks Coming to Canada This Year
The bill was passed by the Senate on Tuesday by a wide margin of 57-20, with 5 abstentions. The measure grants each province the opportunity to authorize single-game betting. At present, only multi-leg parlay bets – that is, single wagers on multiple results – are legal in Canada.
The only step left to giving provinces that right is Royal Assent. It is hardly more than a formality, but a necessary one, wherein the Sovereign approves a bill that has already passed both houses of Parliament in identical form. Once Royal Assent is received – and there’s no doubt that it will be – the law immediately takes effect.
According to the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), the moment Bill C-218 receives Royal Assent, provincial gaming regulators can get to work legislating the approval and licensure of land-based and online sportsbooks to conduct single-event wagers. While that’s happening, third-party sportsbook operations will be busy negotiating partnership deals with provincial gaming operators.
With the passage of this bill being considered imminent for the last many months now, all vested parties are surely prepared to move ahead at break-beck pace. That being the case, officials are confident patrons will be placing bets with locally regulated Canadian sportsbooks before the year is out.
Canadian Sports Betting Bill 10 Years in the Making
“This is a major milestone and achievement for the Canadian gaming industry,” said CGA President and CEO, Paul Burns, commenting on the bill’s passage. “The CGA has been working to legalize single-event sports betting for more than 10 years and Bill C-218 benefited from a groundswell of broad stakeholder support from across Canada.”
Burns credits the bill’s momentum with a harmonized understanding of its multitude of exigencies. “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.”
What Mobile Sportsbooks Could be Coming to Canada
It’s impossible to say for sure what mobile sports betting operators will make there way into which provinces. What we do know is that several major brands have already made their interest known. These include daily fantasy sports giants, DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as Canada’s own theScore. The executives at the Toronto-based sports media network championed the single-event betting legislation. As a result, theScore is expected to be among the very first to launch a sportsbook in Canada.
“Canadians will now be able to reap the numerous benefits resulting from a comprehensive, regulated sports betting framework that protects customers, creates jobs and generates critical tax revenues,” said theScore CEO John Levy in a statement. “The passing of this legislation is momentous, and we are confident that Canada will embrace legal sports betting and become a leader in the rapidly developing and cutting-edge industry.”
Other likely contenders include PointsBet and Caesars. PointsBet recently appointed Nic Sulsky, the former President of Monkey Knife Fight, to head up its Canadian expansion plans. Caesars already has a leg in the door as the operator of Ontario’s integrated casino resort, Caesars Windsor.
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