While Michigan residents continue to wait – and wait – for online sportsbooks to get the final OK, Canada’s government took a big step last week to open up and modernize the way they look at sports betting.
In a bill introduced Thursday by Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti, single-event sports betting in the country may finally come to pass after years of false starts.
Currently, only parlay betting is allowed in Canada, and according to the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), this is a $500 million (Canadian dollars) government-run business. What is the country leaving on the table? According to the CGA, about $10 billion in illegal bookmaking in the country, and another $4 billion wagered offshore.
The bill, by amending the Criminal Code, would simply allow for single-game betting.
A second bill, recently introduced in Ontario, would allow non-governmental operators – such as Score Media and Gaming, a.k.a. theScore – entry into the market.
“The goal of the legislation is simple: It is to bring a common practice out of the shadows and into the open,” Lametti said, according to a Bloomberg report concerning the national bill. “To make it legal, regulated and safe.”
Score Media and Gaming soars
Predictably, the braintrust behind theScore, Canada’s top digital sports company, was buoyed by the national bill being introduced.
“Canadians deserve a modernized and regulated sports betting market and we commend the federal government for their efforts to legalize single-event wagering,” said John Levy, founder and CEO of Score Media and Gaming, in a press release. “There is now clear cross-party support and strong momentum to amend Canada’s outdated federal laws and enable the legal sports betting market to flourish. As the leading mobile sports brand in Canada, we are eager to bring theScore Bet to our fans and offer them our best-in-class sports betting experience.”
News of the introduction of the bill had an immediate impact on Score Media and Gaming, as its stock soared on the news, more than doubling from 60 cents to nearly $1.40 as of Monday afternoon on the OTC markets.
The nationwide bill, if passed, would allow individual provinces to decide how and if they would want to take bets, either in-person, online, or a combination of both.