Canada’s single-event sports betting bill heads to Senate after receiving Commons approval

A bill that would legalise single-event sports betting in Canada has received approval in the Country’s House of Commons and will now head to the Senate for further discussion.

This comes after the legislation passed its second reading in the Canadian Parliament in February.

Bill C-218 gets Commons approval

Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, secured approval following its third reading in the Commons last night.

The legislation will now head to the Senate bringing Canada one step closer to legalising single-event sports betting.

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 would 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.

Speaking on the progress of the bill, Waugh said: “Last year, I introduced Bill C-128, theSafe and Regulated Sports Betting Act as a common-sense change to end an outdated restriction on single-event sports betting, an industry worth $14 billion in Canada.

“I am pleased that today, Bill C-128 passed the House of Commons with the support of Members of Parliament from all parties. The Justice Committee’s study on this bill highlighted the fact that legalizing single-event sports betting will create great economic opportunities for Canadian workers, businesses and employees. 

“It will also ensure that provincial governments have access to the tools necessary to properly regulate sports betting and imp,ent consumer protection and problem gambling programs to protect canadians.”

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

Unanimous support for the bill

The legislation has proved support from lawmakers and industry stakeholders since it was introduced last year.

In November, the Canadian government gave the bill it’s full backing while several other organisations also came out in support of the bill. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) also called on the government to pass the bill back in February.

The legislation is also backed by the sports media business and US sportsbook, theScore.

Speaking on the progress of the bill, John Levy, chief executive of theScore said: “We commend the members on all sides of the House of Commons for quickly passing this much-needed legislation.

“This development is a major step forward and we are increasingly encouraged by the widespread industry and strong cross-party support that Bill C-218 has garnered.

“Now that Bill C-218 has been passed by the House, we look forward to the Senate swiftly carrying the ball over the goal line.”

The leading North American sports leagues have all come out in support of the bill along with the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA). 

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