Ontario eager to jump on board
The first province to jump on board with the new changes was the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) across desktop and mobile devices which is meant to supplement their parlay sports betting. The new changes to the law amended Canada’s criminal code which now decriminalizes single-game sporting events. Now each province can determine how to handle single sports-betting as they see fit. This means each province can now determine if it’s legal and how to tax it.
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. president and CEO was quoted as saying “We’re thrilled to launch our new digital sportsbook, PROLINE+, on this momentous day where OLG is finally able to offer single-event sports wagering and be among the first in Canada to offer this capability”. “More events, more betting options, and greater accessibility means more fan engagement with the comfort of knowing OLG stands behind the product”.
Following the announcement, the OLG said it would work closely with a few companies including FDJ Gaming Solutions and Sporting Solutions of France to help them develop a new platform. This new platform known as PROLINE+ is meant to usher in a new cooperation that would create a new app that is meant to revitalize the retail sports betting industry across over 10,000 points of sale across the province starting in early 2022.
The current situation
As it stands commercial sites are currently months away from launching. Other provinces are also making necessary arrangements to prepare for the new changes in the law. Quebec is currently working to update their Mise-o-jeu+ gaming platform to handle single-event sports betting while in the province of BC the British Columbia Lottery Corporation is doing the same. In addition, the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation is also preparing to accommodate the new changes to the law. Currently the different lottery and gaming commission across Canada are preparing to take bets on football, soccer, baseball, hockey and a few other sports once the updates are completed.
According to attorney general David Lametti who was quoted as saying “Provinces and territories will be able to offer single-event sports betting products on the Grey Cup, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Super Bowl”. “The revenues generated from this type of gambling could be used by provinces and territories to fund programs and services in areas such as health care and education, as they currently do with other lottery revenues.”
Since many provincial lotteries were already setup and able to accept sports betting, this will allow them to be able to easily expand their offerings. It may take a little longer to setup and approve additional regulations on a province-by-province basis. Once established the new regulations will pave the way for sports betting companies from the US to launch their operations in Canada. Sports betting sites like Draft Kings, Fan Duel and Bet MGM will now be legally allowed to take bets from Canadian gamblers in addition to established Canadian companies such as the Score.
What lies ahead for Canada
Recently president and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association Paul Burns was quoted as saying the following: “In time, you may see an extension into hospitality establishments or retail locations where you buy lottery tickets”. “I know the casino operators are eagerly wanting to get to work and make sure they have an offering as soon as possible. But there are some contractual hurdles to get over. And some provinces have not been clear on whether their casinos are going to get sportsbooks at this point in time, or when.”
Moving forward all eyes in Canada will be on the province of Ontario but in time more provinces will follow suit. The Canadian government is hoping to grab a slice of the pie of billions of dollars which up until now Canadians were wagering illegally on sports betting sites for years. Since Ontario has such a huge population of around 14 million the province is hoping to get a nice piece of the action and avoid locals from spending their money outside the country.
In the meantime, the Gaming Commission of Ontario will be moving ahead to setup and eventually integrate sports betting options with provincial commercial operators. Some experts are predicting this could happen as early as December of this year. This would allow them to capitalize on major sporting events including baseball, basketball, hockey and football to name a few.
Although it seems currently only Ontario has declared their intentions to open the market to single-event sports betting many more provinces are expected to follow in their footsteps in the months to come even though no official dates or timelines have been established as if yet.
While many Canadian gamblers will surely be excited to see the laws change and have more options when it comes to sports betting it seems like we’ll still need to wait a little longer for them to iron out all the small details. We believe opening the market to other providers from the US or elsewhere will have a positive effect as well. Competition is healthy and if anything will only help Canadian gamblers by giving them more choices and options to choose from. In addition, Canada will be able to recoup a huge chunk of money Canadian gamblers are currently spending with other sites based in foreign countries such as the United States and Europe. We can’t wait to see how this develops in the coming months.