This week will be a historic one for the gaming industry in Canada, as the country is one step closer to legalizing single-sports betting. On Tuesday, the Senate has officially passed Bill C-218 in its third reading. CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Jim Lawson has expressed his contentment over the company’s position in the new scene of single-event sports wagering.
Currently, the gaming option to bet on an individual sporting event is possible only in horse racing or on offshore gambling websites. Bill C-218 would provide provinces with the opportunity to offer single-event betting in a safe and regulated way. And due to the experience of Woodbine Entertainment, the company believes that it could be of help to the soon-to-be-law.
CEO of the company Jim Lawson believes that the passage of The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act would be great for the horse racing leader for numerous reasons. Mr. Lawson explained that thanks to the company’s long-term relations with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and Woodbine Entertainment’s experience, the company will be able to provide vital intel on gaming the change.
Mr. Lawson explained that companies who want to offer single-sports betting on horse racing will have to come to the horse racing leader. This is due to the fact that the company is holding the license on individual sports betting on live harness races in Ontario. Additionally, Bill C-218 excludes horse racing from the legislation, ergo operators will have to do it through a pari-mutuel with the equine racing leader.
Additionally, the CEO stated that if a company wants to cooperate with the horse racing regulator, they will have their brand offered across the province through 50 sportsbooks. Mr. Lawson believes that Woodbine Entertainment has the most desirable locations thanks to its technology, influence, and needed regulatory approvals for the pari-mutuel locations. Also, the company can also transform its Dark Horse App into a sports-betting one.
Bill C-218 could be of great benefit to the CFL too, according to Wade Miller, the president of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Mr. Miller noted that the single-sports betting legislation can be a game-changer for the football league, as it provides an opportunity for more revenue. The betting legislation could bring new sponsorships and marketing deals to the league.
Before officially passing The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, the Senate was a target of a major backlash. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake as the First Nation requested to be included in the legislation. The tribe was concerned its exclusion would significantly damage its gaming activities and it would not be able to have control over its future undertakings.
Change of Stance
Despite the recent opposition, Bill C-218 has enjoyed a major wave of support across the country. Saskatchewan senator Brent Cotter who previously opted against the change has had a change of heart and now backs the legislation. Mr. Cotter stated that since many sporting jurisdictions support the bill, then there would be no harm in introducing it, as the provinces will be able to provide it in a safe and responsible manner.
Source: “Woodbine CEO likes company’s positioning with Bill C-218 clearing Senate”, TSN, June 23, 2021