Michigan players have the luxury of being able to wager across a wide array of sports. Soon, the state’s neighboring country, Canada, could see its country’s citizens place bets on single games to give more betting access to consumers within the region.
On Nov. 26, Canadian Minister of Justice David Lametti introduced a bill that proposes to decriminalize single-event sports betting. The proposed changes would give provinces and territories the ability to offer single-event sport betting options. Canadians would be able to bet on single games in a regulated environment, whether that be online or inside physical facilities.
“Canadians deserve a modernized and regulated sports betting market and we commend the federal government for their efforts to legalize single-event wagering,” John Levy, The Score Media and Gaming Inc. founder and CEO, said in a news release. “There is now clear cross-party support and strong momentum to amend Canada’s outdated federal laws and enable the legal sports betting market to flourish. As the leading mobile sports brand in Canada, we are eager to bring theScore Bet to our fans and offer them our best-in-class sports betting experience.”
The bill will begin a path through commons to become law. This was the first reading of the bill, and a second reading will take place at a date to be determined. The government-sponsored bill has cross-party support, which puts Canada closer than ever to seeing legalized single-event wagering in its country.
Currently, Canadians are only permitted to make parlay bets on sports. But the legalization of single-game sports betting could give nearby citizens of Michigan another place to wager on games. For instance, the Caesars Windsor Casino is just a 10-minute drive from the center of Detroit, and could serve as another sports betting stop for those interested from Michigan.
Due to the pandemic, Caesars Windsor is only open to slots for invited guests. Non-essential travel is also banned between the U.S. and Canada border.
“Amending the Criminal Code to legalize single-event sports wagering will provide provinces with the necessary tools to deliver a safe and legal option to Canadians while enabling economic benefits to flow to licensed gaming operators, communities and provincial governments,” said Paul Burns, president and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, in a news release. “I can’t emphasize enough how this small change to the Criminal Code would help communities recover from the economic devastation of the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown.”
According to the Canadian Gaming Association, $10 billion annually goes to illegal sports wagering with $4 billion more wagered through offshore online sports wagering sites. Currently, $500 million is handled through legal provincial sports lottery products offered to Canadians.
TheScore projects Canada as a profitable legal market, estimating between $3.3 and $5.4 billion in annual gross gaming revenue. The projection is based on historical data extrapolated from legal online gaming markets in the U.S. and globally.
Michigan moved a step closer to online casino gaming and online sports betting on Tuesday as the rules moved through a legislative committee, allowing the state gaming board to begin approving sportsbook operators. The state hopes to launch sports betting this month.