Why is legalizing single-event sports betting the right move for Canada? Let’s find out together in this analysis provided by www.mybettingsites.com/ca
For decades, placing single bets on sporting events has been prohibited in Canada. Previous attempts to change the laws have been unsuccessful, but a fresh call for legalisation now has the support of the major sports leagues in North America, as well as the country’s House of Commons.
On February 17th, the House of Commons passed Bill C-218 by a vote of 303-15. The bill seeks to amend Section 207 of the Criminal Code and therefore allow Canadians to bet on single events. As it stands, they can only wager on parlays with multiple selections.
The restrictions that are currently imposed have resulted in many Canadians turning to offshore or even illegal gambling activity. Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, who introduced Bill C-218, told the House in February 2020: “The Canadian single-event sports wagering industry is worth over $14bn, but most of it – like 95% of it – exists underground on the black market or through offshore websites.”
As per the Canadian Gaming Association, $10bn is wagered annually through illegal betting operations, and $4m goes through offshore bookies.
Given the huge pool of potential revenue, it is no wonder that the Liberal Party has made a U-turn on the legalisation of single-event wagering. Ben Smith, the website manager of My Betting Sites Canada, believes that the time is right for Canada to embrace sports betting.
“For the country to continue to deny Canadians the ability to place single wagers would just be shooting themselves in the foot,” said Smith.
“Bettors would still find a way to bet even if the bill wasn’t passed, so it makes sense to provide them with a safe and secure environment to carry out the activity, while also helping the economy.
“For many people, betting is a huge part of the enjoyment of sport, and we can now see that the major sports leagues have recognised this, so it’s time to move forward.”
The attitude towards gambling in North America has changed drastically in recent years. In the 1990s, the ability for Canadian franchises to exist in the NBA was under threat as former commissioner David Stern said at the time:
“We don’t like to see people encouraged to bet the grocery money on the outcome of any sport … but particularly our own.”
But the late Stern, and many other figures within elite sport, had a change of heart and went on to highlight the positive impact that legal gambling can have within the sporting ecosystem.
The NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL all have gaming partners, and with more states in the US opening up sports betting opportunities, it is only the beginning for online sports betting.
My Betting Sites is a comparison website for sportsbooks in Canada, and Smith, who helped launch the site in 2019, is optimistic about the brand’s future as legalisation beckons.
“There have been options for Canadians through international bookmakers for a while now, but it would be great for both the country and the industry if some companies based in Canada were able to be a part of this growing sector,” said Smith.
“Understandably, many Canadians are reluctant to register with offshore betting sites, and it’s simply unfair that their only alternative is to place speculative parlays.
“Legalisation of single-event betting through Canadian operators would actually allow punters to stand a chance. It shouldn’t be a lottery – you should be able to utilise your skills when betting.
“We’re excited for sports fans and bettors to have more options available and our site can be their trusted source of information, reviews, and betting offers.”
In October 2020, an estimated US$3bn was wagered legally on sports by Americans for the first time in a single month.
In December, bettors in New Jersey alone were responsible for US$996m of legal wagers.
If Bill C-218, which is now in the hands of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, is passed in the coming months, the future looks bright for the gaming industry in Canada.