Conservative Saskatchewan MP Kevin Waugh has introduced this week in the House of Commons of Canada the “Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act” (Bill C-218). If passed, the Act would amend the Criminal Code of the country to allow for legalised sports betting.
Introducing the bill, Waugh told the House that there is already single event wagering of sports in this country. “And if you don’t think so, you’re behind the curtains,” he said. “The Canadian single event sports wagering industry is worth more than $14bn, but most of it–like 95 percent –exists underground on the black market or via offshore websites.”
He went on to underscore the illegality of the current situation: “None of that activity is subject to government regulations or taxes. None of it is creating jobs in this country or economic opportunities. And none of it is contributing to consumer protection, to education, to harm reduction and initiatives or support services, which are badly needed I must say in this country.”
Waugh added that the law would amend the Criminal Code to abolish the Federal ban on single-event sport betting and enable provinces to implement a safe and regulated betting environment within provincial wagering and lottery systems.
“By passing this bill Mr Speaker we can put a stop to the billions of dollars going towards organised crime and put that money back into our communities. It’s all changed since 2018 – in the United States they have allowed this. Sports leagues like the NBA, the NHL, they are in favour of sports betting being regulated and it’s time this country followed forward.”
The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) has full backing for Waugh’s bill. CEO Paul Burns said: “Amending the Criminal Code to legalise single-event sports wagering will provide provinces with the necessary tools to deliver a safe and legal option to Canadians, as well as the power to address important issues such as consumer protection while enabling economic benefits to flow to licensed gaming operators, communities and provincial governments.”
An amendment allowing single-event sports wagering has received nearly unanimous support from provincial governments across Canada. Supporters include Unifor and the Canadian Labour Congress; the Canadian Chamber of Commerce; Soccer Canada and the International Olympic Committee; law enforcement; dozens of mayors and community leaders throughout Canada; and professional sports leagues like CFL, NBA, and NHL.
“This amendment will allow us to safeguard the $17.1bn economic contribution that gaming makes to Canada as well as the 182,500 jobs that support not only individuals but communities,” added Burns. “We look forward to working with all political parties to make single-event sports wagering a reality.”