Sports betting has been put back on the books for federal legislation and a possible online market launch in Ontario due to a perfect storm of political will and economic necessity. However, with a snap general election on the horizon, its only a matter of time.
Since PASPA was revoked in the United States a couple of years years ago, Canada has become an outlier among Western countries in its firm stance prohibiting of sports betting.
Despite the prevalence of sports betting, Canadians are only permitted to place parlay bets on sporting events with licenced operators. Consequently, the black market is said to control over 90% of the market which is estimated to have $10 billion wagered illegally in Canada, and no one is taxed or given any problems by authorities.
Following a decade of demands for reform, the federal government has proposed decriminalising single-event sport betting, which, if enacted, will allow local provinces and territories to control and licence single-event sport betting in the same way as the United States does.
In November, Federal Justice Minister David Lametti proposed legislation to decriminalise single-event sports betting, which has been debated by federal lawmakers this year.
Bill C-13, if passed, would encourage provinces to follow a private operator model, in which regulators would grant licences to foreign companies and tax their profits.
Passing this law would divert funds from the black market and organised crime, allowing them to pour back into government coffers for social services such as health care and education. Surely this will be of much benefit considering the devastating social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.