BCLC Urges Laws on Sports Betting Ahead of Super Bowl

Super Bowl single-event betting in Canada is close to realization, but a split-second decision to enable betting on the event for the weekend is unlikely.

BCLC Wants to Have Single-Event Betting on Time for Super Bowl

B.C. Lottery Corporation is making a dash for sports betting regulation ahead of the weekend’s Super Bowl game, hoping to legalize the activity in a split-second decision that could quickly drive millions of revenue back in the province, and pull it away from offshore markets.

Yet, BCLC is unlikely to appease Ottawa to vote on Bill C-13, the current legislation attempting to legalize sports betting in the province, despite the clear benefits to stakeholders, the government’s budget and consumers.

Canada does not allow single bet events and rather asks for a type of bets known as “parlays” or “accumulators,” which has made sports betting largely unappealing for consumers who are not quite willing to risk more when the offshore market offers plentiful opportunities to wager.

This has prompted an exodus to Washington with Ontario residents taking the short drive to the United States for a quick flutter before they return home to watch the game. This year is likely to be just the same.

With Super Bowl LV coming up on February 7, sports fans will seek alternatives, as those mentioned above, cautions BCLC director of iGaming, Stewart Groumoutis. As the official puts it:

“Our players have wanted single-event sports betting for a long time. For example, this weekend is the Super Bowl, and our players want to be able to simply bet on the winner, which they are unable to do under the current legislation.”

BCLC director of iGaming, Stewart Groumoutis

He has a point. Instead of curbing potential gambling harm, as the government has long maintained, Canada is actually driving offshore sports betting markets. In fact, provinces and the federal government have done nothing to prevent offshore brands from accessing the Canadian market.

Sapping the Offshore Market

Groumoutis has argued that the federal government should act and act quickly to pass modern laws that will enable single-event betting and generate what is multi-million annual revenue for provinces and the government.

Bill C-13, as the most promising draft law so far is known, has been trying to pass a few times in the House of Commons, but support has been fairly scant. BCLC, though, has urged all interested parties to come together and work on ironing out the issues that prevent B.C. from welcoming single-event sports betting.

Even more importantly, BCLC expects single-event betting to run anywhere to $125 million and $175 million in terms of extra revenue for the Country. So far, some $14 billion are wagered offshore in Canada, whereas Canadians bet only $500 million in parlays through authorized operators. The Canadian Gaming Association rooted for another piece of legislation in 2020 known as Bill C-218. Debates continue.

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