Government of Canada announces coming into force date of Criminal Code amendments on single event sport betting
August 12, 2021 – Niagara Falls, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
Strengthening our economy by supporting the decriminalization of single event sport betting is important to the Government of Canada and contributes to creating a safer and stronger Canada. Canadians understand that single event sport betting should take place in a safe and regulated environment, while also supporting good, well-paying jobs for Canadians. Communities with existing casinos and other gaming operations, particularly along the Canada-U.S. border, could benefit from single event sport betting, especially in light of recent changes to gambling laws in the United States.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, along with Chris Bittle, the Member for St. Catharines, and Vance Badawey, the Member for Niagara Centre, announced that Criminal Code amendments relating to single event sport betting will come into force on August 27, 2021. The amendments to paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code received Royal Assent on June 29, 2021.
With these amendments, provinces and territories will be permitted to conduct and manage single event sport betting in their respective jurisdictions and offer Canadians an opportunity to place bets in a regulated and safe environment either online or in physical facilities, with the exception of betting on horse racing, which will continue to be regulated by the federal government. The revenues generated from this type of gambling could be used by provinces and territories to fund programs and services in areas such as health care and education, as they currently do with other lottery revenues.
The Government of Canada is engaging with provinces and territories and Indigenous nations, communities and organizations that have expressed an interest in discussing how gambling is regulated in Canada to better understand and respond to calls for greater opportunities for Indigenous peoples to participate in the conduct and regulation of gaming in Canada. The federal government remains committed to continuing discussions on the future of gaming, collaboratively with provincial and territorial partners and Indigenous nations, communities, and organizations.
“I am pleased to announce that single event sport betting will be legal in Canada on August 27th. Canadians will have the opportunity to participate in single event sport betting in a regulated and safe environment, at the discretion of the provinces and territories. The Government of Canada will continue discussions on the future of gaming, collaboratively with provincial and Indigenous partners.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Canadians have been able to legally bet on sports for a long time through parlays. However, instead of creating jobs and boosting our local tourism industry, single event sport betting has been a black market that evaded taxes and directed funds to organized crime. Single event sport betting is a multi-billion dollar industry and its legalization will add to our economy, create jobs and boost tourism.”
Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines
“As Canada’s economy restarts and revs up, we want to make sure it has all the fuel it needs to come back as strong as possible. Examining our gambling industry and making responsible changes that allow citizens to better enjoy responsible betting while contributing dollars to our economy instead of the pockets of organized crime is an action I fully support, especially as our tourism and casino industries open their doors and need our support in facing renewed competition from our American friends for tourism dollars.”
Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre
The regulation of single event sport betting will be up to the discretion of each province and territory with the exception of horse racing, which remains regulated and supervised by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency.
Since April 2021, the Government of Canada has been engaging on former Bill C-218 and on the regulation of gaming more generally with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous nations, communities and organizations, and the horse racing industry.
The Canadian Gaming Association estimates that Canadians spend approximately $10 billion per year on single event sport betting conducted illegally through organized crime, and approximately $4 billion through offshore internet sites that are not provincially regulated.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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