Similar to what happens around the globe, Canada’s legislation on gambling fails to adapt to the current reality of online sports betting. More recently, it introduced Bill C-13, which would allow single-event sports betting in Canada. However, as it is clear for those Canadians who bet on sports, that is far from being enough.
Fortunately, Ontario seems to be the first province to actually realize Canada needs to improve its legislation on online betting. According to the information on Bloomberg, the biggest Canadian province may eliminate its monopoly and open the market, looking after increasing its revenue.
What is Canada’s Current Framework on Online Betting?
Online betting is forbidden in Canada for both sports and games. However, there is an exception. Each province has the right to establish its terms, which is why they have the right to own and control their online betting and lottery websites. That monopoly, like any other, does not benefit players.
That is the case in Ontario, where the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is the only licensed operator. They do own a website, but Canadians are still betting millions of dollars in the “gray market” of online betting. That is a clear sign that either conditions or features are not satisfactory enough.
What is About to Change?
According to Ontario’s budget for 2020, the province will introduce changes in its legislation that, if approved, may allow competition and improve the customers’ experience. In that case, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) would be the authority responsible for regulating the market and license other operators.
While both Bill C-13 and the proposed new legislation on online betting in Ontario are yet to be approved, they generated an optimistic atmosphere. Ontario is giving the first step to what may inspire the rest of the country.
Why are Things Changing Now?
Actually, Bill C-13 is Canada’s fourth attempt to approve something of that sort. Ontario’s initiative is something new, and both efforts have good reasons to happen now. Among them, some are noteworthy:
- Canada loses the opportunity of collecting millions of dollars in taxes every year from the money that goes to offshore operators.
- Covid-19 took people from land-based casinos, and they started to gamble from home. With online options limited, they also chose offshore websites to gamble and bet.
- Land-based casinos will be able to expand their coverage and offer online options too.
- They want those people venturing into online sports betting to continue doing so with a proper level of security.
What Comes Next?
Canada’s modernization towards online gambling depends on the results of their legislative work. Although any change should be positive, it is about time they rush to adapt themselves to what online gamblers want.The best possible scenario would be an approval towards the total but safe opening, followed by all other provinces. On the other hand, it is relevant to continue hoping for them not to turn it down a fourth time.