The Canadian gaming sector appears to be expanding after decades of seeking changes to the regulations prohibiting single-event gambling. Several organizations and businesses are preparing themselves for the possible changes in legislation that would leave the implementation and regulation of single-event sports wagering to the provinces. Companies in the gambling industry are already working on ways to take advantage of the new rules.
The law, known as Bill C-218, was introduced as a private member’s bill by Kevin Waugh, the Conservative MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood. Still, despite originating from the opposition, it received support from all four major parties in Parliament.
To understand the law, it is important to know that it does not allow sports betting in Canada on its own. This legislation, like the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to overturn the federal ban on sports gambling, permits provinces to make their own decisions about whether or not to authorize sports wagering.
The landscape of Canadian sports betting might be drastically altered if the federal restriction on single-game wagering is lifted. Bettors would have more options to wager lawfully, leading to other jurisdictions opening their licenses to new operators.
So-called parlay betting, which requires bettors to correctly predict the outcome of at least three independent sporting events, is now permitted in six provinces.
On April 4, 2022, Ontario’s market will be accessible to commercial operators. For the second time in less than a year, Alberta issued an RFP for retail sportsbook operations in December, becoming the second jurisdiction to do so.
When Great Canadian Gaming (GCC), the largest land-based casino operator in Ontario, pushed to delay the market, that date was in doubt.
Then, when Great Canadian Gaming (GCC), Ontario’s largest land-based casino operator, attempted to postpone the market, the timing was thrown into doubt.
According to the operator, online gaming would undermine its business and decrease tax receipts. However, since gray-market operators are already accepting online bets, that claim was relatively easy to refute.
Thanks to the rise of mobile betting, it has become easier for sports fans to place bets on the go. Many online sportsbooks now offer live online streaming of sports games, allowing fans to watch a game alongside additional interactive activities on their websites, such as live-betting and other gamification features that enhance a fan’s ultimate viewing and betting thrills.
Benefits of Legal Sports Betting in Canada
According to iGO Executive Director Martha Otton, “Today, the majority of Ontarians’ internet gaming takes place on websites not conducted and managed by the province.”
To put it another way, “Our new internet gaming market is going to give customers more entertainment options and encourage the growth of a new, legal market that will help fund programs and services that benefit all of us,”
There is a lot of potential in Ontario sports betting. Nearly 15 million people live in the province, making it the size of the fifth-largest US state. $570 million in sports betting revenue might be generated in Ontario in 2022.
An estimated $25 billion in wagers could be placed each year in Canada as a whole, with online sportsbooks accounting for the lion’s share of that total.
Depending on the regulatory structure, those bets would result in more than $2 billion in operator revenue and between $200 million and $400 million in annual tax revenue.
As Canada’s largest market, Ontario can produce $11.1 billion in wagering and more than $800 million yearly in operator revenues. In terms of North American market size, that would be one of the most significant.
Canada’s largest city of Toronto is a sports mecca, home to teams in the MLS, NBA, NHL, MLB, and the Canadian Football League (CFL). Other than that, Ottawa has an NHL and a CFL franchise in the province of Ontario.
Sportsbooks positioning for Ontario
The main US sportsbooks all declared plans to launch in Ontario.
➤PointsBet has built out an experienced executive team. It also teamed with Dailyfaceoff.com and The Nation Network of sports-focused websites in Canada.
➤In August, Toronto-based theScore, which Penn National Gaming acquired, hopes for a large portion of the Canadian sports betting industry. Penn said Friday it will be ready to introduce theScore Bet on day one of the new markets.
➤BetMGM looks to secure a hockey following, working with The Hockey News and Wayne Gretzky. DraftKings increased its NFL daily fantasy sports relationship to include Canada.
➤Meanwhile, FanDuel has claimed it will handle Ontario differently from the US market. The operator claimed it would localize its product, with more of a focus on Canadian sports.
Regulated sports betting is a sector that will thrive, benefiting all Canadians through the development of much-needed jobs, new revenue streams, and critical consumer protections.