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What does the C-218 bill mean for sports betting activities in Canada?


TORONTO, ON, Sept 24, 2021 – On 22 June, the Canadian Senate passed the C-218 bill that effectively decriminalizes sports betting activities within the country.

This is a tectonic shift in an industry that is growing rapidly in other corners of the world including the United States, where multiple states have embraced the full-blown legalization of offline and online betting sites.

If you are just finding out about the passing of this revolutionary bill, the following article shares more details about what this means and how it could affect activities within your local gaming market.

What was amended through the C-218 bill?

The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act primarily amended paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Canadian Criminal Code which qualified any participation in “lottery schemes” as a criminal offense.

in this particular paragraph, the definition of lottery schemes included “bookmaking, pool selling, or the making or recording of bets made through the agency of a pool or pari-mutuel system”.

Now, with the passing of C-218, this paragraph has been eliminated and, as a result, betting activities offered by licensed companies within Canada have been legalized on the federal level.

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The bill gives provincial governments the capacity to issue licenses for individuals or businesses who wish to offer a lottery scheme within their geographical area whether that involves betting on races, single-name sports, or any other sports event.

Finally, on 27 August, the bill was enacted and provinces can now move forward to open applications for prospective licensees.

Industry associations reacted positively to the news

Following the passing of the C-218 bill, the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) issued a press release in which it celebrated the event as a “major milestone” for the country’s gaming industry.

“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”, said Carrie Kormos, the Chair of the CGA.

Ontario is expected to be one of the largest provinces in which sports betting services will be licensed to operate and that will have a huge impact on the growth of this up-and-coming sector. The Ontario region is the largest in terms of population accounting for around 38% of Canada’s total inhabitancy.

Application guides are now available for operators in the iGaming segment while the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has also released its final sport and event betting standards for this particular segment.

How large is the market for sports betting in Canada?

The market for legal sports betting in Canada is estimated to grow to around $25 to $30 billion by 2030 according to research from PlayCanada. These transaction volumes would yield approximately $2 billion for operators within the country.

Companies and websites like bet365, betway, and Betvictor have already emerged as some of the most important online sports betting providers in the country.

The progressive approval of licenses in the different provinces of the country will support the expansion of the industry and regulators have been encouraged by both industry associations and federal legislators to standardize the industry’s practices and procedures on a local level.

Moreover, companies within the United States including DraftKings and Caesars Entertainment are expected to benefit the most as a result of the passing of the C-218 bill.

Bottom line

Sports betting is now legal in Canada and this means you can now freely place a wager on your favourite sports team for multiple disciplines going from football to tennis.

Promising days lie ahead for this growing industry and Canada’s legislators seem to have proven that they can keep up with how the world is evolving to give individuals a higher degree of freedom.

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