Posted on: Feb 17, 2021, 7:41 am.
Last update on: February 17, 2021, 7:41 am.
In a much-anticipated move, the Canadian Parliament on Wednesday approved betting on individual sporting events, paving the way for an eventual introduction to provinces and territories.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He voted for single game sports betting today. (Image: Toronto Star)
Bill C-218, a bill introduced by MP Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon-Grasswood) last year, was voted and passed smoothly on second reading in the House of Commons, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau voting in favor.
Bill C-13 was previously introduced by the federal government and was intended to legalize single bets at the national level. The House of Commons is expected to adopt this legislation in the short term. With Wednesday's decision, Canada is modernizing a sports betting system that urgently needs to be updated. Sports betting was essentially "legal" in the country for years, but players could only bet on parlays.
We believe that legalizing single event sports betting will facilitate the introduction of a much-needed modernized sports betting framework in their respective jurisdictions by provinces and territories, which may include important consumer protection measures and the ability to generate new revenue streams for provincial and territorial governments, "said John Levy, CEO of Score Media and Gaming, in a statement.
C-13 is scheduled for Friday's second reading and is expected to pass like C-218. From there, it will be up to the 10 Canadian provinces and three territories to decide how single bets are carried over to potential bettors.
Blessings for selected operators
As in the US, when various states join the legal sports betting battle, Canada's decision is a win for some operators.
Score Media, the company behind theScore mobile betting app, immediately falls behind as it has a dominant market share in its home country. Indeed, the timing of Parliament's decision could not be better for the gambling company. Last week the operator announced that it was planning a reverse split of its over-the-counter shares in hopes of listing on the Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange.
When Waugh's bill was introduced last year, Wall Street analysts speculated that among US-based companies, Ballys (NYSE: BALY), DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG), and Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ: PENN) were potential winners.
Penn has a 4.7 percent stake in Score Media. For its part, DraftKings has prepared for the Canadian movement and recently announced a deal with the NFL to expand a daily fantasy sports (DFS) and content deal to the country.
Great market potential
Score Media estimates that the Canadian online gaming market could be valued at $ 3.8 billion to $ 5.4 billion. This forecast is based on historical data extrapolated from legal online gaming markets in the US and worldwide.
If the high end of that forecast were implemented, the country would have outperformed every living and legal U.S. state except New Jersey last year.
Canada has 37.59 million people, or nearly two million fewer than California. With its own soccer league, six NHL teams and one team per person in Major League Baseball and the NBA, and Canadians' affinity for US teams, the country is a potentially fertile market for sports betting providers.