Canada Finally Gets Single-bet Sports Betting

Canada Finally Gets Single-bet Sports Betting ( Click to Enlarge )

The Canadian Senate finally passed a bill to make it legal to wager on one sports bet at a time. This changes the awkward, strange, weird and otherwise “out there” law that previously stood. This is also great news for those who like to wager within the country for various reasons.

Single-event Sports Betting Hits Canada

When it comes to gambling in any location or context, there are usually a lot of laws. Many of those laws are in place for good reason. However, some of them are dated and end up making no sense in modern times.

Until recently, Canada’s laws on sports betting fell under the latter category.

In what will probably go down in history as one of the dumbest gambling laws ever, it was previously illegal to make sports bets on an individual event. It was also illegal to wager on a parlay of two events. Instead, punters had to make a parlay of at least three different events for the wager to be legal.

Somehow, this really, really dumb law survived until this year. The Canadian Senate has finally passed Bill C-218, which changes things. Common sense has [finally] prevailed, but this has major implications on the industry as a whole.

The Situation for Online Gambling in Canada

As you can tell by the previous law, online gambling in Canada is in a bit of a weird place. On a national level, this sports betting guideline was actually one of the very few laws on the subject. Whether that makes its previous existence better or worse is something we’ll leave up to the reader.

However, their regulatory setup is also atypical. They do not regulate the online gambling industry on a national level. Instead, each province is allowed to set up and regulate games themselves. Some have chosen to do that, and others have not.

With that said, many players in provinces with regulated online gambling choose to play elsewhere. The reason for that is straightforward. The options offered by the regulatory bodies pale in comparison to what’s available on the international stage. For those who are interested, we see a similar situation happening in the United States with various differences.

This weird sports betting law that was previously on the books is one of the reasons players would choose to bet with companies located outside of the country. We can hardly blame them, especially since there has previously been little reason not to. However, it’s looking like that could be changing soon.

Increased Enforcement Measures?

The Chair of the Canadian Gambling Association Carrie Kormos had the following to say about the changes:

“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.”

The notion that they passed this to ease pressure that they were facing from pandemic shutdowns seems suspect. Instead, this is something that people have been asking for well over a decade. As a result, the big question is why did they wait until now to do it.

One option could be that they are looking to crack down on enforcement, especially with sports betting. Sports betting is generally the largest sector of the gambling industry by volume. That’s definitely the case in Canada, and securing that market is important for them. At one time, more than 80 percent of bettors were wagering with non-regulated entities.

The provincial governments see that as a significant loss of income. However, with the previous law, it was pretty hopeless to try to enforce exclusivity in this way.

What we suspect is that the government is preparing to start increasing enforcement measures. The motive behind this is pretty straightforward: More enforcement means more revenue. In a time when they need to squeeze out as much revenue as possible, this is definitely a viable motive as to the timing of the whole thing.