Canada Reshapes Sports Betting Industry with Passage of Bill C-218

Canadian sports bettors will have additional reason to celebrate Canada Day this year after a bill legalizing single-game sports betting became law on Tuesday night. Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, received royal assent from Richard Wagner, the chief justice of Canada’s Supreme Court and administrator of the Government of Canada. The conclusion of the legislative performance ends a decade-long bipartisan effort to reform the nation’s archaic sports betting laws, which restricted wagering to multi-game parlays. The passing of Bill C-218 into law also clears the way for wide expansion of the sports betting industry in Canada, resulting in more betting options and sportsbook choices for Canada’s growing legion of sports bettors.

CanadianBettingSites takes a look at what’s next for sports betting in Canada, and how the changes in law will positively impact the sports betting experience. Sports bettors looking to get in on the action for the first time can refer to out our betting guides to learn all they need to know to get the best out of their sports betting experience.

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Passage of Bill C-218 Ends Decade-Long Campaign

This was not the first attempt at reforming Canadian sports betting laws. A former Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, NDP MP Joe Comartin kick-started the legislative process back in 2011 by introducing a Private Member’s Bill known as Bill C-290. While the legislation enjoyed wide bipartisan support, it failed to gain traction in the House and dies with the dissolution of Parliament in 2012.

Subsequent attempts at legislative reform, spearheaded by former Windsor, Ontario MP Brian Masse suffered a similar fate, failing to work their way through the House of Commons and Senate during the Parliamentary session. One of the major stumbling blocks preventing Bill C-290 and earlier versions of Bill C-218 from becoming a priority in the House of Commons was continued widespread opposition to sports betting reform from professional sports leagues across North America, most notably the NHL.

Opening of US Market a GameChanger

However, with the sports betting industry in the United States undergoing profound change since 2018 when the US Supreme Court struck down a 1992 law effectively outlawing single-game sports betting outside the State of Nevada, major sports leagues like the NHL have reversed course. Indeed, with change on the horizon in Canada, the NHL has engaged in a series of partnerships with a number of sportsbooks, including industry giants like William Hill, Betway, and Sports Interaction.

The passage into law of Bill C-218 could also generate a huge financial lifeline for the struggling Canadian Football League. The CFL has struggled to compete for consumer dollars for years, particularly in Canada’s biggest cities, as the number of other sports and entertainment options has increased. However, with the growth of sports betting, the CFL’s statistical data has suddenly become a valuable commodity to sportsbooks and could net the league millions of dollars in revenue.

What’s in it for Sports Bettors?

Canadians unfamiliar with sports betting may be left wondering, what’s the big deal about the passage of Bill C-218 into law? The short answer is lots! Traditionally, legal sports betting options in Canada have been largely limited to provincially operated sports lotteries, which only offered parlay betting on sporting events. That meant that sports bettors looking to get in on the action on game night could only do so with parlay bets.

Unlike the upcoming shift to single-game betting, which enables the sports bettor to wager solely on the result of a single bet on a single game, a parlay bet combines multiple game wagers on a single ticket. While a parlay bet typically pays out with better odds, it also requires that all bets included in the parlay be winners for the ticket to be declared a winner, dramatically decreasing the punter’s chances of cashing in.

What’s in it for Sportsbooks?

Supporters of Bill C-218 also expect the new law to spark a boom in economic development, with the entry of new players into the Canadian sports betting market generating thousands of new jobs across the country. Long-time Canadian sports bettors have relied for years on online sportsbooks that operate offshore. Popular sportsbooks like Bodog have become household names in Canada, and could now be poised to legitimately expand their operations across the country. One of the big advantages of that is the golden opportunity for sportsbooks to garner increased credibility in the marketplace while providing sports bettors with a safer and more reliable betting experience.

Critics of Bill C-218 remain. And uncertainty as to how further expansion will move forward could lead to some bumps in the road as the industry opens up in Canada. However, one thing is certain – single-game sports betting is here to stay, and with the introduction of a legal framework, sports bettors across Canada are poised to be big winners.