Sports betting fans in Canada will be closely watching the launch of a new effort to legalise sports wagering in the country, which was announced this week.
Brian Masse, who represents Windsor West Ontario in the Canadian Parliament, has put forward a bill that would legalise sports betting on a federal basis across Canada.
This is the third bill that Masse has brought forward. In 2016, The Safe and Regulated Sports Act was rejected in its last hearing at Ottawa House, despite cross-party backing, because the newly elected Liberal Party government under Justin Trudeau refused to support it.
But on Tuesday this week, Masse launched another attempt. Bill C-218, which will go to the Canadian House of Commons for an initial review, aims at legalising single sports betting, making it legal for the government of a province to regulate the sector. According to Masse, the new Bill would receive the support of a Conservative MP, Kevin Waugh, who had agreed to co-sponsor it.
In expressing his support for the Bill, Waugh said that Canada’s laws in this area were out of date and it was no longer possible to treat sports betting as a crime, due to the sports betting boom that was taking place across the southern border:
“By passing this bill Mr Speaker we can put a stop to the billions of dollars going towards organized crime and put that money back into our communities.”
Waugh highlighted the fact that sports betting has been legal in the United States since May 2018, and the leading sports leagues in the US had all supported legalisation.
The Canadian Gaming Association has also expressed its support for the new Bill. Paul Burns, the Chief Executive of the organisation, said that amending the laws to legalise sports betting would give provinces the ability to deliver safer wagering to Canadians, while providing an economic boost to communities and local governments.