BCLC Urging Canadian Government to Legalize Single-Event Sports Betting

  • Approval of the legislation will remove a the parlay betting-only requirement
  • C-13 would bring in new revenues for programs throughout Canada
  • The BCLC would consider adding enhanced betting options to lottery gaming suppliers
Man holding up a sign reading "Hockey is Canada's Game"
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation wants to see the Canadian government pass legislation to permit single-event sports betting. Currently, bets are limited to parlays involving three teams or more. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Parlays only right now

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is pushing the Canadian government to approve legislation to allow single-event sports betting in the country. Bill C-13, introduced last year, is under consideration in 2021. It gained support from lawmakers as well as from groups like the BCLC over the past few months.

BCLC posted about the legislation via Twitter:

Currently in Canada, players can only make parlay bets, combing a minimum of three games into a single wager. Players would prefer the option to wager on a single game as the likelihood of winning is much higher than on multiple games.

Could open up more betting options

The BCLC is encouraging the federal government in Canada to modernize current sports betting laws with the passage of C-13. The director of eGaming for the BCLC, Stewart Groumoutis, pointed out that additional revenues generated could support programs in provinces throughout the country.

players want to be able to bet on the winner”

Mr. Groumoutis stated further that players have wanted access to single-game wagering for quite some time. He pointed out the upcoming Super Bowl and how “players want to be able to bet on the winner, which they are unable to do under the current legislation.”

The only regulated online gambling site available in British Columbia is PlayNow.com. With single-event wagering as an option, the operator could offer an additional suite of betting opportunities for players.

The BCLC has plans to introduce licensed sportsbooks in key markets of Canada. The group will work with local governments, regulators, and industry shareholders to bring this gaming option to life.

The BCLC would also consider adding enhanced betting options at hospitality locations that currently offer lottery gaming. Players would be able to wager on a sporting event at such locations and then follow the game elsewhere. Revenue estimates for the new betting options range from $125m to $175m.

Player safety

Another reason for the push to legalize single-event betting is player safety. To place such bets now, players have to either travel to casinos in the United States or use unregulated, off-shore websites.

If the activity is approved, casinos in British Columbia and the PlayNow website can offer a safer environment for such wagering. The revenues generated will support programs in Canadian provinces such as education and community needs.

PlayNow.com supports player health by offering specialists via online chat or telephone. The provider offers services to promote healthy playing habits and gives referrals for treatment and support when needed.

Introducing legislation

In November, Conservative MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood Kevin Waugh introduced C-218 in the House of Commons in Ottawa, the second time the legislation was proposed. Titled “The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act,” the bill seeks to repeal the portion of Canada’s Criminal Code which specifically limits bettors to three games per wager.

provide an all-around economic boost and safeguards for bettors

Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti proposed C-13 just a few weeks later, in late November 2020. The Canadian Gaming Association broke the news of the bill’s introduction, stating that the change to Canadian law would provide an all-around economic boost and safeguards for bettors.

C-13 will allow provinces and territories to have control over single-event sports betting regulations. If passed, bettors could wager at land-based venues or online. The bill also focuses on horse racing, which is still restricted to parlay betting. The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency would supervise that segment of the industry.

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