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Bill C-218 Officially Receives Royal Assent

Canada is finally moving forward with its gaming expansion as the bill that would allow betting on individual sporting events is now a law in the country. The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act has now received royal assent from the country’s chief justice and current government administrator, Richard Wagner.

The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act or also known as Bill C-218 would amend the Criminal Code and would legalize betting on individual sporting events in the country. Currently, single sports betting in Canada is only allowed on horse racing, and gamblers and fans have to place wagers on parlay bets where they guess the right outcome of two or three events in order to win.

One Final Step

After its third and final reading approval at the Senate last week, Bill C-218 now had one last obstacle to overcome and become a law in Canada. The bill has now made its last legal step into becoming reality, as the legislation has received royal assent from the country’s chief justice and current government administrator, Richard Wagner.

Next on the agenda will be for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet to set a date for the legislation to come into power, which will be done in a legal process named order-in-council. Once this day comes, the country’s provinces and other licensed operators will be able to offer single-event sports wagering on everything except horse racing.

Due to its nature of being a private bill member introduced by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh in February 2020, the legislation has faced a series of legal challenges. This has not been the first attempt to legalize single-sports betting in the country as previous bills aiming to do so have failed to pass in Parliament. Such an example is bill C-290 which similarly passed the House of Commons vote in 2012 but it was voided due to federal elections.

In a June 24 press release, New Democratic Party MP Brian Masse stated that this is the third time attempting to get such a bill passed and it has finally worked. Mr. Masse explained that the previous two times the legislation started as an NDP bill and despite its major support it never got over the finish line.

Single-Sports Betting Plan

This week Niagara Falls’ Wayne Gates, Windsor West’s Lisa Gretzky, and Windsor-Tecumseh’s Percy Hatfield have issued a letter to Premier Ford about an immediate single-sports betting plan in Ontario. The MPPs’ letter states that the passing of Bill C-218 brings an enormous opportunity for border casinos to create thousands of job positions. The MPPs urge the local government to hurry up and compile a new plan on the sports betting legislation.

Great Position

After the passing of Bill C-218 in the Canadian Senate, Woodbine Entertainment’s President and CEO Jim Lawson congratulated the Senate on the matter. Mr. Lawson also expressed his satisfaction over the company’s position in the bill, as horse racing was initially excluded from the legislation. Now if a company in Ontario desires to offer single sports wagering on horse races then it must be done through a pari-mutuel with the equine racing leader.

Source: “Bill C-218, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sports betting) — Chapter No. 20”, House of Commons Canada, June 29, 2021