Entain teams up with RGC ahead of sports betting legalisation in Canada

Entain has announced that its non-profit Foundation has inked an agreement with the Toronto-based Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) to help fund research into consumer practices, behaviors and preferences in Ontario.

This comes as Canada prepares to legalise single-event sports betting and gaming for the first time ever. Ontario is expected to become the first Canadian province to introduce online gambling and licenses are set to be issued in 2022.

Entain teams up with the RGC

According to the announcement, Entain’s foundation will fund the RGC’s research into the consumer practices and behaviours in Ontario Canada. 

The RGC will conduct research which will be focused on consumer rights in Canada and experiences across other jurisdictions so that regulators can make evidence-based recommendations to balance the needs of the operators and risks to consumers.

The research work is expected to begin relatively soon and a full report is set to be published later this year. 

Martin Lycka, Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs & Responsible Gambling at Entain said: “We know from similar research in many markets in which we operate, including the United States, that regulators value research which supports an evidence-based approach to decision-making and effective regulation from a wide range of other international jurisdictions.  

“Entain, which operates across five continents and over 20 countries, has unparalleled experience with different regulatory approaches taken around the world in the past 15 years”

Shelley White, CEO of RGC expressed “As a global leader in responsible gambling, RGC is committed to working with regulators, operators and the public to establish the development and implementation of a robust responsible gambling culture. RGC’s work with Entain will contribute to vital advancements in consumer safeguards.”

Entain has previously indicated an interest in applying for a licence to operate in Ontario after Canada’s federal government introduced a bill that would permit single-event betting last year.

Sports betting in Canada

In November 2020, Canada’s Minister of Justice David Lametti reintroduced Bill C-128,  the “Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act.”

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

In essence the bill would pave the way for true single-event sports betting in Canada.

In February, the legislation passed its second reading in Canadaian parliament with a vote of 303 for and 15 against. 

Now that the bill has passed its second reading it will enter the last phase of hearings with the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights before moving to the senate and then to Governor-General for Royal Assent.

During the proposal’s second reading it received support from several lawmakers based on the positive impact it would have on their communities.