On June 22, 2021, Bill C-218 (Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act) was passed without amendments and will come into force on a date set by the federal government.
Bill C-218 will legalize betting on a single sporting event. In Canada, it was previously only legal to make a parlay bet.
A parlay is a bet in which wagers are placed on the outcome of multiple separate events and all wagers must be won for the bet to be won. For example, an individual could place a bet that predicts the winner of three different sports games. In this situation, the bet would only be successful if the individual accurately predicted the winner of all three games. Previously, this was the only type of sports bet allowed in Canada. Now, however, with the passing of Bill C-218, Canadians will be able to bet on the outcome of a single race, fight or sporting event (with the exception of a horse race).
Bill C-218 was a private member’s bill which was sponsored by Conservative Member of Parliament, Kevin Waugh. The Bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 57 to 20 with 5 abstentions. The Bill has passed all legislative stages and now only requires Royal Assent before it becomes law.
Bill C-218 serves as an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada and does away with the long-standing prohibitions under section 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code which previously prohibited “bookmaking, pool selling or the making or recording of bets, including bets made through the agency of a pool or pari-mutuel system, on any race or fight, or on a single sport event or athletic contest”.
These changes will allow provinces and territories to regulate and license single-event sports betting, which will likely create profitable opportunities for businesses to access a newly legalized market in Canada. Previously, betting on a single sporting event existed within highly lucrative offshore and grey markets. Canadian businesses will now be able to legally capitalize on the funds that were being funneled into these grey markets.
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