No matter where you are in North America, you can legally engage in regulated, single-game sports betting. That boast, which has been too long in coming, was made possible this week when Canadian lawmakers approved Bill C-218, which legalizes single game wagering operations.
Bill C-218 passed through the upper chamber of Parliament on a 57-20 vote on Tuesday. This was actually the fourth time lawmakers had pushed for single-game sports betting. In previous attempts at regulating sports betting, lawmakers weren’t motivated to do much, but a recent tidal wave of lost customers to legal US operators and offshore gaming sites proved enough motivation to move the bill through.
Lawmakers may have also found inspiration to move in the support Bill C-218 had from professional sports leagues. Both the Canadian Football League and the National Hockey League, the only leagues that really matter in Canada, supported legalizing sports betting.
The bill’s prospects for smooth sailing were also bolstered by support from the Canadian equestrian world, where wagering on harness racing has been legal for years. Horse track owners have seen their business slowly eroding as players drift to offshore sites where they can wager on anything they like, and not just horses.
Conservative Sen. David Wells, a key sponsor of Bill C-218, told the CBC that regulated sports will put a major dent in the black market saying, “Canadians are placing billions of dollars worth of bets annually through these [offshore] sites, that go entirely unregulated in Canada.”
Bill C-218 has a few more formalities to work through before becoming law, but those are strictly formalities at this point and it should have no problems moving forward.