Canada’s Minister of Justice has introduced a bill that proposes decriminalizing single-event sports betting across the country.
Minister David Lametti introduced the bill, which seeks to amend Canada’s Criminal Code, on November 26. If passed, it would allow provinces and territories to regulate and license betting on a single sporting event.
Currently, Canadians are only permitted to place bets on multiple games at once through Pro-Line and are not permitted to bet on the outcome of a single game, such as the Grey Cup.
According to a release, the bill would not apply to horse racing, which the federal government would continue to oversee through pari-mutuel betting. In a pari-mutuel bet, money is pooled and divided amongst the winners.
“The amendments we are proposing today will help create a safe and regulated environment for Canadians who wish to participate in single event sport(s) betting,” Lametti said.
The Canadian Gaming Association estimates that Canadians spend approximately $10 billion per year on illegal single event sport betting through organized crime. An estimated $4 billion is spent through unregulated offshore internet sites.
Provinces and territories would use the profits generated by the bets to fund programs and services, such as health care and education, as they currently do with other lottery revenues, the government said.
Several US border states legalized single-event sports betting in 2018.