Informed bet

Odds are that the federal government is going to legalize single-event sports wagering. The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act (Bill C-218) was unanimously passed by the House of Commons, and is currently before the Senate.

Similar private member’s bills have previously made it this far, but this time it’s different. The bill has all-party support, and has the backing of the sports industry and police, both of which opposed legislation in the Senate in 2015. A 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a federal law prohibiting single-event sports betting outside of Nevada, giving each state the power to decide whether to allow it within their borders, has changed the North American gaming landscape, adding pressure on Ottawa to follow suit as 30 states and counting have either launched legal sports betting or passed legislation. “The U.S. Supreme Court decision was probably a trigger point because once it becomes regulated in the U.S. then you ask what is fundamentally different about that form of entertainment in Canada from the U.S,” notes Don Bourgeois, former General Counsel for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and now counsel with Fogler, Rubinoff LLP.

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This story was originally published in the National, a Canadian Bar Association publication.

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