The upcoming Saturday, August 27, 2022, it set to be an important one for Canada and its rapidly developing gambling industry. The date will mark the first-year anniversary since the federal government decriminalized single-event wagering on sports games with the exception of horse racing. Essentially allowing provinces to separately offer and conduct the product to their player bases.
Single-game betting was legalized through Bill C-218 or also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, which was enacted as law on August 27, 2021. The legislation was introduced by Conservative Member of Parliament Kevin Waugh and it gained plenty of support from lawmakers, professional leagues and industry stakeholders who have been lobbying for the change for a long time.
First Year Highlights
Ontario was among the first provinces to quickly deploy single-event betting, as, on August 27, 2021, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation added it to its PROLINE brands. The OLG then reported that for the first five days after legalization, it handled more than CA$1 million in single-game bets. For that period, almost 75% of the total bets were under the new vertical.
In November 2021, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation revealed that its local bettors have placed more than CA$25 million on single-game bets via its PlayNow digital platform for the first two months of operations. In addition to that, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario started its registration process for its private market for online sports betting.
Then around Christmas 2021, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority announced that it has been tasked with launching a provincially-regulated igaming site, which will focus on sports wagering. It was recently announced that the BCLC will be developing the new online portal, and now the province is aiming for a November 2022 launch, just in time for the Grey Cup.
Alberta is also looking to advance its sports betting sector, as in December 2021, it announced that it will take proposals for two private sports wagering operators. The province is not a fan of Ontario’s open iGaming model, and it is hopeful that its limited model could open by the end of 2022. However, as of now, no operators have been confirmed, meaning that the launch could be delayed.
A few months later in February 2021, Nova Scotia also launched its single-event sports betting product for its many players. The province has managed to introduce the vertical in a collaboration with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. Despite the delay, the new offering was introduced just in time for the Super Bowl, which is one of the largest sporting events in the world.
However, the culmination of the new sports betting products must be accredited to Ontario, which on April 4, 2022, launched its private market for gambling brands. Some of the already approved sports betting and iGaming operators include PointsBet, theScore Bet, FanDuel, BetMGM, Rush Street Interactive, Unibet, Coolbet, bet365, Caesars Entertainment and more.
Source: Warren, Greg “Canada’s Single-Event Wager-versary: A Look Back At The Past Year” SportsHandle, August 23, 2022