Canadians should soon be able to bet on the outcome of an NHL game thanks to what experts say is a delayed change in the country’s sports betting laws.
A private member’s bill passed by the House of Commons on Thursday would legalize putting money into a single sports game. Currently, people circumvent the law by using overseas gambling services to place bets. There are a lot of the best online casinos for Canadians in the net.
The modernization of the legislation is “long overdue,” said Tom Mayenknecht, a Vancouver-based sports marketing expert.
“It is impossible in this age to control people who gamble abroad,” he said. “In this way, you keep more money in Canada, both in terms of where it is spent and then secondly, investing a portion of the proceeds in the community.”
Current Canadian sports betting legislation is “old” and loosening the rules would be similar to the changes the federal government made around cannabis in 2019, said Michael Naraine, assistant professor of sports management at Brock University.
“Obviously, for a long time, everyone was saying ‘cannabis is bad.’ But people used cannabis. Not that he was simply magically taken out of the country. People smoked and used cannabis, ”he said.
The federal government changed cannabis laws not only to generate tax revenue, but also to educate the public about responsible use, Naraine said.
“Instead of punishing the consumer who is already doing it, embrace the activity but do it in a way that gives you options but also, more importantly, education.”
It remains to be seen exactly how new-looking sports betting would work in Canada. If approved by the Senate, Bill C-218 would give provinces and territories full jurisdiction over single event betting.
Each province and territory would likely do things slightly differently, said Paul Burns, president and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association.
Some may have their own betting services, while others will distribute licenses to sports betting companies like FanDuel or DraftKings. A province could also opt for a hybrid model.
“This allows the regulated industry in Canada to catch up and play on a level playing field,” Burns said.
Canadians are currently only allowed to place parlay bets that cover multiple games. But that’s not appealing to many bettors who want to be, who may go to as many as 2,000 overseas websites, many of which are not well regulated, Burns said.
“We get calls to our offices from people who are having trouble getting their money off the sites,” he said.
Every year Canadians gamble about $ 4 billion through overseas sportsbooks and another $ 10 billion through operations in Canada run by organized crime, Burns added.
The idea behind parlay betting was that it would help prevent corruption and collusion in professional sports, Naraine said.
“Now sports integrity is much more enshrined. We have much more confidence in sporting integrity, “he said. “We have the numbers, we have the data, we have cameras everywhere. It’s so hard to be corrupt in sports now. ”
The NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and CFL signed a joint letter last June supporting the changes in the legislation.
Mayenknecht said the leagues recognized that single-event sports betting could be a “massive” new source of revenue.
Most of the money will come from commissions or license fees on actual betting, Mayenknecht said, but the leagues will also look for future opportunities.
See a day in the not-too-distant future when fans will be able to walk to a window outside an arena or a kiosk on the esplanade to bet on the outcome of a game. He noted that the Phoenix Suns announced earlier this year that they are working with FanDuel to create a “gambling hall” at their home stadium.
The leagues also know that the new legislation will open up opportunities for new sponsorships, Naraine said. After exhausting traditional avenues like the official café and the official vehicle, the teams are looking to diversify into new areas such as information technology and carpooling, he said.
“They are categories that did not exist 10 years ago. And one of those categories is also a sports games operator, ”he said.
An industry knows that the impact of Bill C-218 will not be entirely positive. The new legislation will hurt the horse racing industry, said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment.
“I have no doubt, even now, that sports betting is going to cannibalize our mutual betting dollar in Canada,” he said. “As it allows people to bet on sports, (the horse racing industry) will lose a lot of those customers to sports betting. There is a limited amount of dollars available for sports betting. ”
Woodbine pushed for an amendment banning fixed odds betting on horse racing, and Lawson said the resulting change will help limit the impact on his industry.
“I think (the legislation) is a good thing for the country,” he said. “It is going to generate revenue and to a large extent, but not completely, it will replace a gray market that does exist.”
Lawson said Woodbine has already been contacted by companies looking to create partnerships as the landscape of sports betting in Canada changes. They like that Woodbine already has infrastructure in place, he said, from anti-money laundering systems to responsible gambling programs and a mobile app.
The legal changes are unlikely to completely shut down foreign gambling websites, Lawson said.
“What it will do is bring most of the major players to Canada, operating legally, regulated and paying taxes,” he said.