With the Canadian Gaming Association hopeful that Bill C-218 will become federal law, the Canadian parliament has moved a step closer to passing a bill for the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act.
In a statement announcing that Ottawa’s House of Commons is expected to conduct a final review of the bill, the CGA said: “The CGA is pleased that the federal government has recognised the urgent need to amend the Criminal Code to offer safeguards to Canadians as well as an economic recovery tool for the provinces.”
The Commons heard the second reading of Bill C-218 in November, which was formally introduced by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh and bill writer Brian Masse, Windsor West MP (Ontario).
The CGA led a consortium of North American professional sports earlier this year including the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS Soccer and Canadian Football Leagues, imploring the government to fast-track single-sports betting legislation.
Canadian casinos also support the bill, although labour unions claim that by the second half of 2021, a regulated sports-betting system will be introduced.
Another key figure hoping to see new betting laws is Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who said the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp, which currently enjoys a monopoly, will no longer satisfy the demand of the most populous province in Canada alone.
Ontario’s Treasury reported that people have spent about CA$500m on unlicensed websites to date, something Waugh cited in support of Bill C-218.
“We can’t emphasise enough how this small change to the Criminal Code will help communities recover from the economic devastation of the COVID-19 shutdown,” said the CGA. “We will continue to update the industry as this bill moves forward.”