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Canada – BCLC urges Canadian Senate to pass sports betting bill

By - 26 May 2021

British Columbia Lottery Corporation is urging the Canadian Senate to prioritise its consideration of Bill C-218, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, before the Chamber adjourns for the currently scheduled summer break.

The House of Commons passed Bill C-218 to legalise single-event sports betting on April 22 and the Bill remains with the Senate for approval before it can receive Royal Assent and become law.

Bill C-218 will enable BCLC to provide single-event sports betting – as well as betting on racing and fighting – almost immediately on PlayNow.com. As B.C.’s only regulated online gambling website, PlayNow.com delivers important revenue to the Province of B.C. to support healthcare, education, and community initiatives.

“Bill C-218 will provide BCLC with the ability to deliver safe, legal and regulated sports betting options to our players and – most importantly – in a way that prioritizes the health of our players,” said Lynda Cavanaugh, President and CEO. “Legalized single-event sports betting would support BCLC to shift play from unregulated websites to PlayNow.com, where numerous safeguards support healthy play and where revenue goes back to support B.C. communities.”

Currently, the only sports bets permitted in Canada are those requiring a ‘parlay’ – meaning players must wager on the outcome of at least two different events. As such, B.C. players are making single-event sports bets on unregulated gambling websites that don’t provide jobs nor revenue that benefits the Province of B.C.

In fact, BCLC estimates that it has lost as much as $250m in revenue to unregulated websites over the last five years because current federal law prohibits BCLC from offering single-event bets.

As part of its work to deliver gambling entertainment in a socially responsible way, BCLC continues to prioritise the health of players. On PlayNow.com, this work includes identifying play behaviours associated with risk and problem-gambling levels, proactively intervening when players are actively experiencing harms, and exploring incentives for healthy-play behaviours.

In addition, PlayNow.com is the only online gambling website in North America and one of the few in the world with dedicated player-health specialists available via telephone and online chat to support players with healthy play habits or refer them to treatment and support services, if needed. PlayNow.com also has other player-health safeguards such as weekly deposit limits, playing time limits, session reminders, and short-term lockout.

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