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Canada Announces Date for When Provinces Can Launch Single-Game Sports Betting

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Aug 17, 2021 · 12:13 PM PDT

Canadian Sports Betting
Toronto Maple Leafs center Joe Thornton(97) celebrates his goal with teammate Mitch Marner(16) during an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Toronto, Canada. (AP Photo/Peter Power)
  • The date of August 27, 2021, has been set for the launch of single-game sports wagering in Canada
  • The NHL, NBA, MLB, Canadian Football League and Canadian Premier League are among many leagues to support the passing of Bill C-218
  • Read on for all the details on the launch of single-game wagering in Canada this month

Oh Canada! Citizens of the Great White North now have a date for when they can potentially enjoy legalized single-game Canadian sports betting.

David Lametti, Canada’s Minister of Justice, announced single-game sports betting will be allowed in provinces on August 27. It will be up to each province to decide how they will offer, or even if they will offer single-game sports wagering.

It’s the first major update for online sports betting Canada since June. That’s when the Senate of Canada approved Bill C-218 by a vote of 57-20 with five abstentions without amendment at third reading. This bill allows each Canadian province to regulate and legalize single-game sports betting on its own. This is similar to the 2018 process in the United States when the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act prohibiting states from authorizing sports betting.

The Private Member’s bill, sponsored by Saskatoon-Grasswood Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, amended the Canadian Criminal Code to remove language that required sports bets to be placed across multiple events. Until its approval, Canadian residents could only legally wager on multi-leg parlays.

The August 27 launch is timely as it will align perfectly with one of the biggest sports betting dates on the calendar — the start of the NFL regular season. The pre-season is already underway. But the official start of the 2021 regular season kicks off on Thursday, September 9 when the Dallas Cowboys host the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Important Details of Bill C-218

Here’s what we know about the bill so far:

  • Provinces can launch single-game betting on August 27.
  • Horse racing is not included.
  • An amendment to specifically include First Nations Indigenous groups in the bill was voted down earlier this year. It’s unknown if, or how, the groups will be included.
  • The NHL, NBA, MLB, Canadian Football League and Canadian Premier League were among 25 stakeholders who supported the immediate passage of the bill.
  • It’s estimated Canadians illegally wagered C$10 billion annually through illegal bookmaking operations and C$4 billion annually through offshore online sportsbooks. Only C$500 million is wagered annually through legal Canadian operations. This according to the Canadian Gaming Association.
  • DraftKings and FanDuel both currently offer daily fantasy sports contests in Canada.
  • In June, PointsBet announced the hire of gaming industry veteran Nic Sulsky for a planned expansion into Canada.
  • BetMGM announced a multi-year partnership with Wayne Gretzky earlier this year. BetMGM’s Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost said Gretzky brings a unique ability to tell the brand’s story “as we look toward potential expansion into Canada.”
  • Caesars has a presence in Ontario with its Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino.
  • Ontario would likely be the most desirable province to allow single-game betting. It’s the highest populated province in Canada. Ontario has 13.4 million residents according to the 2016 Canadian Census.
  • The second most populated province in Canada is Quebec with 8.1 million residents. British Columbia is third with 4.6 million residents.
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