The Time is Right: Single Game Sports Betting Finally Coming to Canada?

Written By Ivan P

The matter of single game sports betting has been present in Canada for almost a decade now. However, recent changes in the US law have made this issue more important than ever as Canadian casinos, especially those bordering the States, have found themselves in a really tough spot. Instead of getting ahead of times, Canadian lawmakers have been sitting quietly on the sidelines, allowing the US to get the foot in the door.

It seems the change might finally be on the horizon, though, as those in the know believe that a bill regulating this area would stand a good chance if presented to the House this time around. A few days ago, a fresh single game betting bill was introduced by Brian Masse. This time, he is using a different strategy, as the bill was introduced through MP Kevin Waugh.

A Decade-long Story of Political Bickering

Canada has been toying with the idea of regulating single game betting for nearly a decade. The first such bill was introduced to the Senate back in 2012. The reasoning behind the bill was to try and attract more Americans to the bordering casinos as back then, US punters couldn’t legally place sports wagers except for in a few select states.

It was expected that the Senate would pass the bill with no issues as all they were required to do was to strike a certain wording from the criminal code. This small amendment would create a legal setting for the single game sports betting and as Joe Comartin suggested at the time, it wasn’t really a big change at all as many US and Canadian residents were betting on offshore sites anyways. Thus, the bill would help create new jobs and pump some fresh money into the country’s economy.

However, the bill didn’t receive the support it needed, primarily due to Liberal senators who refused to sign off on it. Certain sports leagues, primarily NHL, were also asking the Senate not to pass the bill as they felt that it could hurt the integrity of the games – the very same reasoning that was behind the recently-overturned PASPA in the USA.

Brian Masse, the man behind the latest proposal, tried his luck once before, in 2016 to be precise. However, the initiative was once again defeated by the Liberals, mostly because the friction between the Liberal Party and the NDP, which brought forth the proposal.

Is the Time Finally Right?

We are now in 2020 and it seems like the overall climate has finally changed in a way where the single game betting bill could be passed. The latest bill, dubbed C-218 (Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act) once again underlines dangers of unregulated offshore betting, emphasizing how such activities contribute nothing to education or other beneficial activities.

If this bill makes it to the House, it seems very likely that it will receive the support it needs to be made into a law for several reasons.

First of all, the NDP and the Conservatives now have the majority and both have shown support for the initiative. Thus, Liberals won’t be able to block the bill like in the previous attempts. This is, of course, a huge factor that gives real hope for those who believe that the single game betting should be allowed.

Another major factor is the fact that sports leagues are no longer opposing the idea. Looking at the US, many major leagues (including NHL) have actually entered partnerships with various betting companies looking to get their share of the market. So, pressure from that side of the fence is pretty much gone as well.

Finally, with the US Supreme Court overturning PASPA, it is clear that the new time has come and Canada should be ready to pick up on this. Ignoring recent developments won’t bring any positives as gambling establishments bordering the US will continue to suffer losses.

So, to sum it up, it seems like the new bill is almost guaranteed to pass the Senate this time around. The only thing left to worry about now is actually getting to that point, which may be a bit of an obstacle. However, it seems like Canada will finally be getting legalized single game sports betting, even if it takes a little while more.