The Senate has approved Bill C-218, a private member's bill that amends Criminal Code provisions around gambling on single sports games — currently illegal except for horse racing — in a bid to win back customers from offshore sites, U.S. casinos and illegal bookmakers.
The private member's bill - sponsored by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon-Grasswood) - passed without amendment, by a vote of 57 to 20 (five abstentions). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government will decide on a date when the legalization of single-game sports betting will take effect.
Similar legislation zipped through the House of Commons with all-party support nearly a decade ago but foundered in the Senate and died when an election was called in 2015.
Canadian Gaming Association Celebrates the Passage of the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act
The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) today celebrates the arrival of single-event sports betting across Canada as the Senate successfully passed Bill C-218, without amendment, at Third Reading. Today’s successful vote will allow the Canadian gaming industry to begin working with provincial partners to offer single-event wagering to sports betting fans.
“This is a major milestone and achievement for the Canadian gaming industry,” said Paul Burns, President and CEO of the CGA. “The CGA has been working to legalize single-event sports betting for more than 10 years and Bill C-218 benefited from a groundswell of broad stakeholder support from across Canada. The need for regulation, oversight, player protection, and the creation of economic benefits for Canada was understood by everyone involved in the legislative process, which is why the Bill was successfully passed.”
“The serious and thoughtful consideration of Bill C-218 by Senators and Members of Parliament will dramatically improve the ability to offer sports betting in Canada and provide an important competitive tool for an industry that has been severely impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns,” stated Carrie Kormos, Chair of the CGA.
Following Royal Assent, provinces will have the authority to deliver a safe, legal, and controlled sports betting option to Canadians, and to enact strong regulatory standards. The CGA has been working with industry experts and provincial gaming regulators to support the development of sport and event wagering regulation that will be adopted across Canada.