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Canada – Canada’s sports betting bill to wait until late January

By - 14 December 2020

Proposed Canadian Federal Government legislation to legalise single-event sports wagering in Canada (Bill C-13 “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (single event sport betting) will have to wait until the New Year to be brought into law.

The House of Commons of Canada adjourned for the Christmas break on December 11 without hearing the debate on single-game sports wagering. This is expected to kick-off in late January when House members return from their holiday period. The bill looks to have widespread bipartisan support.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti presented the bill on November 26, when it received the first of three readings.

A spokesperson for Lametti’s office said: “We are pleased to see the support that the bill has received since it’s been introduced, and we hope that all leaders will work together to pass these changes expeditiously. Our Government knows that in order for gambling to take place in a safe and responsible way, it must be properly regulated.

“The changes we are proposing would give Canada’s provinces and territories the ability to regulate single-sport betting. By taking illegal betting profits out of the hands of organized crime, revenues could instead be directed towards health care and education initiatives, as has been done with other lottery revenues. These changes would also create opportunities to work with Indigenous communities to strengthen their participation in the gaming industry.”
The federal government would maintain its role in overseeing pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. The proposed amendments would give provinces and territories the discretion to manage single event sport betting in their respective jurisdictions and offer Canadians an opportunity to place bets in a regulated environment either online or in physical facilities.

By taking illegal betting profits out of the hands of organised crime, the revenues generated from provincial and territorial-operated gambling could be used by provinces and territories to fund programs and services in areas such as health care and education, as they currently do with other lottery revenues. The proposed amendments also clearly respond to calls from labour leaders, particularly in communities along the Canada-U.S. border, following similar changes made in a number of border states.

Mr. Lametti said: “The amendments we are proposing will help create a safe and regulated environment for Canadians who wish to participate in single event sport betting. This Bill would also protect Canadians by taking profits out of the hands of organised crime and will help our economy by supporting jobs. These changes also create the opportunity to work with Indigenous people to strengthen their participation in the gaming industry.”With approximately CDN$80 Bbn wagered annually on sports in Canada, $ELYS sportsbook experience and cutting-edge technology, means tremendous opportunity to grow.

The proposed changes would give provinces and territories the ability to offer single-event sport betting products and the discretion to manage single-event sport betting in their respective jurisdictions. In provinces and territories that choose to offer single-event sport betting, Canadians would have an opportunity to engage in this activity in a regulated environment, either online or in physical facilities.

The Canadian Gaming Association said: “The CGA is very pleased that the Justice Minister decided to introduce a government bill in support of single-event sports betting. The need to amend the Criminal Code has all-party support, and our expectation is that it will move expediently through the process to completion. Canada’s gaming industry has been severely impact by COVID-19 and access to this new product will help the industry to recover.”

“We commend Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General for introducing this important legislation in support of single-event sports betting,” stated Michele (Mike) Ciavarella, Chairman and CEO of Elys Game Technology, a sports betting technology group. “We believe there is strong bi-partisan support for this bill and, if passed, would have a very positive impact for both Elys, given our strong leadership in the space, as well as the overall industry, which has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We estimate that approximately CDN$80 Billion is wagered on sports each year in Canada. With our established relationship foothold in Canada, sportsbook experience and cutting-edge Elys betting technology, we believe there is a tremendous opportunity to expand our business across the provinces.”

Caption: David Lametti

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