Saskatoon MP sees single-game betting bill as a game-changer for Canadian sports
SASKATOON -- A bill introduced by Saskatoon-Grasswood MP Kevin Waugh which would see single-game betting legalized in Canada is on the cusp of passing.
“I think this is the biggest change we're going to see in sport in the history of Canada,” said Waugh. “It's a game-changer.”
Waugh says Bill C-218 could come to pass as early as the end of May, and billions of dollars could be added to the Canadian economy by regulated single-game betting.
“$14 billion we know today is being bet illegally in this country,” Waugh said. “Every provincial lottery association is fighting to get some of that money back. Right now, only $500 million is spent in Canada on Pro-line.
“We're losing out on $14 billion on offshore and criminal activity. So if we can get this bill passed in the Senate, Royal recommendation that will give the provincial lotteries in this country the right to open up single-game betting and they too can enjoy the money coming into the province’s coffers.”
Placing a wager could be as simple as using your phone at home, but it could also help drive business to sports bars and other local establishments.
“There's a large group of people who do online betting as it is, and I think the potential for people who don't have access to online accounts constantly to bet on one game, I think there will be an interest in that,” said manager of Sports On Tap Mike Kirkham.
“If that's a way to bring people in and generate revenue for the province, that goes back into things that help out the community.”
SIGA president & CEO Zane says out of the approximately $14 billion worth of wagering, national revenue could be as much as $900 million to a billion dollars after betters take their share.
“In our province, an opportunity for revenue could be $20 million range,” he said.
“You have a lot of, call them grey market operators or illegal operations going across the country, that are taking these bets and carrying on," Hansen said.
“So, unfortunately, that means it doesn't support employment in the gaming industry, for all illegal operators governments and all the beneficiaries and stakeholders do not capture the profits from that and goes back to charities and other forums in our community, so we really want to see this happen.”
“Just think of the added money coming into each provincial regulation if we can get this bill passed,” said Waugh.
“They can give it to education, they can give it to health, maybe we do more in mental health, maybe we do more in addictions.”
It would also be a boon to professional sports, says Waugh.
“We have seen the issues that the Canadian Football League has had not playing last year,” he said. “They want this bill to move, they want to get engagement back in their league, and this is one way that they're going to get it back.”