Canada’s single-event betting bill passes its second reading in the Senate

A bill that would legalise single-event sports betting in Canada has passed its second reading in the Senate.

This comes after the legislation that would permit single-event betting was approved by the Canadian House of Commons in April and sent to the Senate for further discussion.

Bill passes second Senate reading

Bill C-218, which is also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, was passed in the House of Commons after a third reading in April. Since then, the legislation has been waiting for Senate approval.

On Wednesday, the country came one step closer to expanding its sports betting laws after the bill passed its second reading in the Senate.

The bill’s passage in the Senate comes as the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) put pressure on the Senate to pass the bill before it adjourned for summer recess.

However, before the bill can become law, it will need to be considered by the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.

If the Committee approves the legislation, it will receive Royal Assent and become law which will allow sportsbook operators to take bets on individual sporting events.

The bill has received unanimous approval from sports leagues, betting companies and industry stakeholders in Canada.

Leading North American sports leagues have all come out in support of the bill along with the International Betting Integrity Association. 

Other organisations such as the Canadian Gaming Association, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League,  Major League Soccer,  Major League Baseball, and the Canadian Football League have all come out in support of single-even sports betting.

Speaking on the passage of the bill, John Levy CEO of the Canadian betting and media firm theScore said: “With today’s passing of Bill C-218 on second reading in the Senate, we are now one important step closer to legalizing single event sports betting in Canada. 

“The Bill has now been referred to the Senate’s Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, which provides another opportunity to discuss how safe and regulated sports betting will benefit all Canadians by implementing necessary consumer protections, generating critical tax revenue for our communities and driving job creation. 

“Following committee, we are optimistic that Bill C-218 will be swiftly passed at third reading in the Senate, receive Royal Assent and become law.”

The road to single-event betting in Canada

After first being introduced in early 2020, Bill C-218 was reintroduced in November 2020 by Canada’s Minister of Justice David Lametti as “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (single event sport betting).”

The bill was sponsored by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, and aims to repeal paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code which states that sports wagering is only legal if bettors bet on at least three or more games simultaneously.

This means that the only way to legally bet on sports at the moment is via parlay bets placed through the lottery.

However, with Bill C-218, it would become legal to bet on individual sporting events and outcomes.

If the bill becomes law, the regulation of sports betting in Canada would take place at a provincial level.