When is Legal Sports Betting Coming to Canada and Would Horse Betting Get a Cut?
It seems that almost all stakeholders in Canada’s sports world are already in support of bringing legal sports betting to Canada.
Earlier this year in March 2019, Finance Minister for Ontario, Vic Fedeli, had sent a letter to his federal counterpart Bill Morneau asking for an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada that would legalize single-game Canada sports betting in the country’s largest province.
At the moment, Ontario citizens can only bet legally through the provincial lottery’s Pro-Line product that allows for parlay betting, with a three-game minimum, using such sites as casino coupon codes Canada. Fedeli is hoping that Ontario could benefit from the potential for single-game betting to generate $110 million Canadian per year in tax revenue.
The NHL is also finally in support of single sports betting, after years of opposing all measures to amend the criminal code and allow for single-game betting. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman once said:
“The NHL believes that a level playing surface for sports betting is in the best interest of the NHL’s sports betting landscape”
The NCAA has also admitted that “The sports movement is not against regulated betting, which is a major source of financing for sport worldwide. Furthermore, legal betting on sport allows fans to extend their support for athletes and teams, thus helping to build stronger attachments toward sport.”
Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) CEO Jim Lawson, recently quoted on Harness racing, said he believes legalizing single-game sports betting in Canada is gaining momentum,
“Much of the public is already (betting on sports) and they’re doing it off-shore,” Lawson said. “You’re always going to have people that have issues morally and ethically with gambling and sports betting and I understand that. Everyone’s entitled to their view… but I think that sports’ betting is generally acceptable and so much of it goes on today. It’s a $12 to $15 billion revenue source that I think the federal politicians are going to step up and pay attention to. So, it feels like it’s starting to gain momentum. I think the U. S. Supreme Court decision has been somewhat of a catalyst for that view of the federal politicians in Ottawa that either will be running or currently hold office and combined with revenue shortages, the world is just becoming more expensive and they’ve got to find a way to generate revenue. When you see that sort of potential revenue source, combined with the fact that much of it is going off-shore, I think there’s likely an obvious need to corral some of that revenue or the greater portion of that revenue. I think it’s going to grow substantially once it’s done legally and marketed properly, which cannot occur in this country today because it’s illegal.”
Lawson, however, insisted that the most important part of legalizing sports betting is guaranteeing that horse racing gets a cut.
“It’s going to completely cannibalize rural Canada and all of the racetracks and there’s a big cultural component in Canada of horsepeople and the horse industry and it will be substantially hurt if horse racing doesn’t have a role in sports betting,” Lawson said.