Ottawa Officially Legalizes Sports Betting Across Canada

The federal government in Ottawa has officially legalized gambling on individual sporting events such as the Super Bowl.

The new federal law officially comes into force as of August 27 and allows Canada’s provinces to regulate sports betting as they see fit.

According to the federal government, Canadians spend about $10 billion a year on single sporting events as part of betting conducted illegally on the black market by organized criminal networks.

An additional $4 billion a year gets spent by Canadians in the so-called grey market, in offshore jurisdictions where such bets are legal.

The new federal rules have the potential to bring that money back into Canada in a way that it can be monitored and taxed, helping provincial governments that have seen their tax base hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The law, known as Bill C-218, was a private member's bill brought forward by Kevin Waugh, Conservative MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood, but despite coming from the opposition, it won support in Parliament from all four political parties.

The legislation received "royal assent" at the end of June, making it official, but it wasn't until late last week that the governing Liberals attached a date to its implementation: August 27.

Six Canadian provinces currently allow so-called parlay betting through provincial agencies, where bettors must bet on the outcome of at least three separate sporting events and correctly predict the outcome of all three for the bet to pay off.

Betting on a single event — the winner of the Super Bowl, the Grey Cup or the Stanley Cup Final — was previously impossible to do through any services regulated in Canada.