Single-sports betting will be legal and eligible to be played as of August 27 following an announcement Thursday from the Canadian government
David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced that Criminal Code amendments relating to single event sport betting will come into force on August 27, 2021. The amendments to paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code received Royal Assent on June 29, 2021. That was one week after the Senate of Canada passed Bill C-218, the Safe And Regulated Sports Betting Act, which enabled the change in the Criminal Code to permit single sports betting to become law.
“I am pleased to announce that single event sport betting will be legal in Canada on August 27th,” Lametti said. “Canadians will have the opportunity to participate in single event sport betting in a regulated and safe environment, at the discretion of the provinces and territories.
“The Government of Canada will continue discussions on the future of gaming, collaboratively with provincial and Indigenous partners.”
Previously, Canadians could bet on sports legally in the country but only via a parlay wager – the combining of several elements into one bet. This created odds that were heavily tilted in favor of the house.
Provinces In Control
While the federal government put the new law into force, it will be up to each Canadian province and territory to determine how sports betting will be implemented, licenced and regulated within its boundaries.
Currently, Canadian provinces offer sports betting that is licenced and regulated by provincial lottery corporations. There already is online and mobile sports betting in place in British Columbia through PlayNow, operated by the BC Lottery Corporation. The Ontario Lottery Corporation recently unveiled plans to add an online and mobile element called Proline+ to its Proline sports betting offering and confirmed they will be ready to provide single-sports wagering on August 27.
“OLG has been looking forward to offering single-event sports wagering to adult Ontarians for many years,” OLG CEO Duncan Hannay said in a statement.
Alberta offers online casino games and indicated plans to add online sports betting sometime this year through its PlayAlberta.ca website.
“AGLC and Play Alberta are also excited to add sports betting, including single event options, to the website later in 2021, which will further enhance the players’ experience while presenting exciting and relevant gambling entertainment options on Alberta’s only, regulated online gambling website,” Kandice Machado, the acting president and CEO of the AGLC said in a statement.
Major Sportsbooks Ready To Move Into Canada
While the quick turnaround will make it virtually impossible for private sports betting entities to enter the market by August 27, that isn’t going to keep the major sports betting players from south of the border out for long.
DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and PointsBet have all indicated plans to enter the Canadian market. Last week, Penn National Gaming acquired Canadian media and sports betting entity theScore for a $2 billion price tag. TheScore’s sports news app has 4 million subscribers in Canada. They operate theScore Bet mobile app in four US states. Penn National will keep theScore brand intact, similar to its union with Barstool Sports in the USA.