Canada to decriminalize single event sport betting

Strengthening economy by supporting the decriminalization of single event sport betting is important to the Government of Canada and contributes to creating a safer and stronger Canada. Canadians understand that single event sport betting should take place in a safe and regulated environment, while also supporting good, well-paying jobs for Canadians. Communities with existing casinos and other gaming operations, particularly along the Canada-U.S. border, could benefit from single event sport betting, especially in light of recent changes to gambling laws in the United States.

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour, along with Irek Kusmierczyk, Member for Windsor—Tecumseh, on behalf of the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, highlighted that Criminal Code amendments relating to single event sport betting will come into force on August 27, 2021. The amendments to paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code received Royal Assent on June 29, 2021.

With these amendments, provinces and territories will be permitted to conduct and manage single event sport betting in their respective jurisdictions and offer Canadians an opportunity to place bets in a regulated and safe environment either online or in physical facilities, with the exception of betting on horse racing, which will continue to be regulated by the federal government. The revenues generated from this type of gambling could be used by provinces and territories to fund programs and services in areas such as health care and education, as they currently do with other lottery revenues.

The Government of Canada is engaging with provinces and territories and Indigenous nations, communities and organizations that have expressed an interest in discussing how gambling is regulated in Canada to better understand and respond to calls for greater opportunities for Indigenous peoples to participate in the conduct and regulation of gaming in Canada. The federal government remains committed to continuing discussions on the future of gaming, collaboratively with provincial and territorial partners and Indigenous nations, communities, and organizations.

Quotes

“Making single event sport betting legal will help support workers in the gaming industry in Windsor, across Southwestern Ontario and throughout the country. This change will help secure good jobs and open the way for profits to be directed back into the growth of our communities. Together with unions and workers, our government will continue working to support fairness for Canadian workers and prosperity across our region.”

The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour

“Canadians who want to participate in single event sport betting are already doing so in unlicensed markets. That money is funding the coffers of organized crime rather than governments that provide important services to residents. Today’s announcement will bring sports betting into a safe and regulated space, while also protecting 2,500 good-paying jobs at Caesars Windsor and boosting our cross-border tourism sector that has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor—Tecumseh

Quick facts

  • The regulation of single event sport betting will be up to the discretion of each province and territory with the exception of horse racing, which remains regulated and supervised by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency.
  • Since April 2021, the Government of Canada has been engaging on former Bill C-218 and on the regulation of gaming more generally with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous nations, communities and organizations, and the horse racing industry.
  • The Canadian Gaming Association estimates that Canadians spend approximately $10 billion per year on single event sport betting conducted illegally through organized crime, and approximately $4 billion through offshore internet sites that are not provincially regulated.

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