CGA Pushing for Single Event Sports Betting in Canada

Canada single sports betting immediately on CGA’s lobbying menu.

Canada Single Sports BettingFollowing the US Supreme Court‘s decision on Monday to overturn a 26 year old anti-sports betting law, the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) took immediate action. The CGA wasted no time in announcing their intention to lobby—and lobby hard—for the legalisation of single event sports betting in Canada.

US Dissolves 1992 PASPA Law

Sports betting of any kind has been illegal in all but one US state (Nevada) since 1992. That was the year the federal government enacted the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, aka PASPA.

Prior to this, sports betting was only legal in four US states. Each of the four were given an opportunity continue with legal sports betting by grandfathering in their existing laws. Only Nevada chose to do so, making sportsbooks a fiery hot commodity in Las Vegas.

On Monday, May 14, 2018, the US Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favor of abolishing PASPA. As such, every state now has the right to legalise and regulate land-based and/or online sports betting activities at their discretion. Anticipating this event, more than one-third of all US states have already passed the required legislation. Their hope is to have sportsbooks open and operating before the start of the 2018-19 NFL season.

CGA Push for Canada Single Sports Betting

Opportunistic US state legislators were not the only ones anticipating this day would come. The CGA published a statement immediately following the SCOTUS decision. It was issued so fast, in fact, there’s little doubt that it was scripted before (if not long before) the ruling came down. The press release outlines their intent to vigorously lobby for single event sports betting in Canada.

The opening statement announces the CGA’s approval of the US Supreme Court decision. However, it goes on to detail the detrimental effects it could have on Canada’s own sports wagering system; unless changes to existing laws are made, and swiftly.

While sports betting has been legal in Canada for decades, punters are restricted to participation in sports lotteries, or parlay betting. We must pick multiple outcomes, and all of those picks must be accurate, or the wager is lost. The odds are not appealing, to say the least. Thus the CGA’s goal is to convince Canada’s Liberal Party that amending the laws to permit single event wagers is paramount to the continued success of provincial sports gambling markets.

The SCOTUS ruling “further reinforces that the Canadian Parliament needs to act,” says CGA Chief Executive Paul Burns. He warns the government that, “Sports betting is a product enjoyed by millions of Canadians who spend billions illegally to access it.”

Can CGA Break the Seven Year Curse?

Provinces have been pushing for single event bets for the last seven years. A simple amendment would have granted the request, giving their regulators a greater opportunity to protect consumers, professional athletes, and the integrity of sports, by permitting single-event wagers.

“This request has fallen on deaf ears,” says Burns.

Bill C-290, introduced by MP Joe Comartin in 2011, spent five years floating through Canada’s lawmaking cabinets. When it languished, Bill C-221 was introduced by MP Brian Masse in 2016. Both had the same directive—to “allow for wagering on the outcome of a single sporting event”. Both failed.

Competition Could Drive Change in Canada

Despite years of opposition to single event sports betting in Canada, there’s one thing the CGA has on its side… Competition.

Throughout history, the US and Canada have remained highly competitive in many major industries. What one does, the other follows. Sometimes Canada pioneers the movement; other times it’s the US that prompts our nation to act. Either way, things tend to get done much faster when there’s a challenge to remain competitive.

That’s exactly where we stand now. Canadian provinces may have generated millions from its less-than-appealing parlay system up until now—with billions more going to illegal single-event gambling—but now, Canadians will have the option to head south across the border and place all the legal wagers they want. If the laws regarding Canada single sports betting don’t change soon, millions more could be lost.

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