WHAT ARE THE PROPOSED PIECES OF LEGISLATION BEING CONSIDERED IN PARLIAMENT?
In November 2020, the Government of Canada tabled Bill C 13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (single event sport betting) for first reading. If passed, paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada would be amended to permit single event sports wagering.
In February 2020, Conservative Member of Parliament Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon – Grasswood) introduced a private member’s bill C-218, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sports betting). If passed, paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada would be repealed to permit single event sports wagering.
HOW DOES SPORTS BETTING CURRENTLY WORK?
Currently, bettors in Canada can place legal wagers only by betting on the outcome of multiple sporting events at once. This is called parlay betting.
Alberta partners with the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) to offer Sport Select, where players can choose between ProLine, Over-Under, Point Spread, Pools and Props.
Players can place wagers only where Sport Select is offered at official WCLC retailers throughout Alberta.
WHAT WOULD CHANGE IF THE CRIMINAL CODE IS AMENDED?
If the Criminal Code is amended, provinces and territories would have the ability to adjust their lotteries to allow for single event sports wagering.
WHAT WOULD CHANGE IN ALBERTA?
In Alberta, AGLC has plans to introduce a sports betting platform on PlayAlberta.ca in 2021, including single event sports wagering if passed.
The change would also give AGLC the ability to work with its industry stakeholders to offer sports wagering in destination facilities throughout Alberta.
WHY IS AGLC SUPPORTIVE OF THIS CHANGE?
The change would give legal age Albertans new options to bet on their favourite sporting events, including on PlayAlberta.ca, where revenue stays in the province to benefit all Albertans.
Research conducted over summer 2020 indicated that Albertans spend an estimated $53 million annually on offshore sports gambling websites. Additionally, Albertans spend an estimated $49 million annually on daily fantasy sports (DFS) at offshore sites, such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
DOES THIS NOT PROMOTE MORE PROBLEMATIC GAMBLING?
Unregulated sports gambling offers little to no responsible gambling features, leaving the player with limited protections or means of responsible play, education or access to other responsible gambling tools.
AGLC’s GameSense program is available through casinos, racing entertainment centres and Play Alberta which provides tools and resources that promote healthy gambling behaviour.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF SPORTS BETTING IN CANADA?
The restriction against single event sports wagering was introduced in the Criminal Code of Canada amendments in 1985. The intent was to prevent sporting events in Canada from being fixed or otherwise illegally manipulated to create specific outcomes to financially benefit individuals or groups who had placed wagers based on these known outcomes.
Several attempts have been made to allow for legal, single event sports wagering in Canada, including in 2013 when a bill was passed in the House of Commons but failed to gain support in the Senate.