Canada Pushed to Change Sports Betting Laws

Robert C. Richardson - 18 Dec 2018

Canada Pushed to Change Sports Betting LawsCanada looks set to follow the United States lead, as union leader David Cassidy pushes to lift provincial bans and offer fans more sports betting options.

The union leader is lobbying for Canada to expand and regulate all types of sports bets and has used the US’s financial gains as a motivator.

Public Servants Motivate the Expansion

In May 2018 the US lifted the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which essentially made it legal for any state to regulate and tax sports betting. Since the ruling, several states have passed legislation to regulate and tax sports betting. Major sports leagues have followed suit, changing rules to allow sports teams to enter sponsorship agreements with gambling companies. It is expected that more states will follow suit in the new year.

By allowing the sports betting sector in the US especially neighbouring states such as Michigan to develop ahead of Canada, Cassidy says that the country could lose its market share. This would lead to a significant loss of funds and potential jobs.  

Job creation in Canada is one of the main reasons that Cassidy entered a conversation with Foreign Affairs Minister Freeland. Cassidy is not the only public servant who is pro-gambling. Essex MP Tracey Ramsay shares the view that the industry should be expanded, and said there was no good reason not to. Ramsay added that by further regulating the market, the black market would be diminished and problem gamblers would have easier access to assistance.

The Current State of Play

At present each Province controls its own gambling affairs and sports betting is widely accepted. However, most states have restricted the types of bets allowed such as single-game bets and capped the maximum stakes punters may place. This had led many bettors to place their money with black market bookies, a market estimated to be worth $7.5 billion. None of these funds are taxed, and therefore never make it into the country’s coffers.

Taxes and job creation aside, the PASPA ruling in the US also opened the door for sports teams to accept sponsorship from gambling companies. Although the US teams may not accept any fees from the companies, leagues such as the NHL have signed sponsorship deals.

In turn, the teams have gone on to conclude contracts for sponsors, and Canada is home to seven NHL teams. No doubt they will be pushing for the sector to be expanded so they too can benefit from it.


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