Canadian Gaming Association CEO Urges Passing of Federal Sports Betting Bill
November 4, 2020
The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) says it is pleased that Bill C-218 – The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act – has begun its debate in the House of Commons. Championed by Kevin Waugh, MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood, this Bill, when passed, will provide the communities with a powerful tool to help recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19.
“We are part of the broader hospitality and tourism sector in Canada and like all sectors, we will need longer term supports once we enter the re-opening and recovery phase,” said Paul Burns, President & CEO of the CGA. “While current support measures are welcomed and appreciated, they all have expiry dates that will not meet the unique situation of the hospitality sector long-term.”
The CGA says helping a gaming facility to open a sports book will serve as an economic stimulus, create hundreds of employment opportunities, and generate a significant new tax revenue stream for cities across Canada. Parliament should come together and help push this change through before the chance is lost to another election.
“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,” stated Mr. Burns. “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.”
As the sponsor of the bill says, the landscape on legalized gambling has shifted. “Everything has changed,” said MP Waugh. “Safe, regulated betting – that’s all we’re asking for. I think it’s time that we move forward on this.”
The bill has received significant cross-party support, and many provinces have recently spoken up – again – about the need to clean up the Criminal Code and let the provinces decide for themselves how to implement single-event sports betting.
Ontario has already made a firm move, including in its delayed 2020 budget a move to open up a liberalized iGaming market in the province.
Left as-is, says the CGA, billions of dollars continue to line the pockets of organized crime, which is estimated to be $10 billion annually. Additionally, more than $4 billion is wagered through offshore online sports wagering sites. Currently, only $500 million is wagered through legal provincial sports lottery products offered to Canadians, which means many people are betting through illegal and often dangerous means.
A legal, regulated sports wagering marketplace will drive additional revenue through increased food and
beverage sales, gaming activity, and sports wagering revenue while supporting jobs in Canada’s legal and
regulated gaming industry.
The Canadian gaming industry wants to recover - please give them the tools to do so.