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How Legal Sports Betting Could Affect Canada’s Sports Industry

CONTRIBUTOR
Business
11 Oct 2019, 19:37 IST

Legal sports betting is still alien to North American residents with both the US and Canada maintaining strict restrictions on online sports betting. However, based on recent developments in Canada, the industry could take a positive turn as the move to introduce single-game sports betting gathers momentum.

2012 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying - Championship
2012 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying - Championship

Canadian authorities have been reviewing the current legislation and reforms on sports betting since 2011 and in 2016, the first vote to legalize single-game sports betting was conducted. Back then, the proponents lost. 

Calls for legal sports betting in Canada increase

Things appear to be gathering pace recently though after the Liberal Party of Ontario candidate Sandra Pupatello declared during a press conference that she intends to get legislation for single-game sports betting passed. 

According to Pupatello a change of law to allow single-game sports betting could boost provincial government revenues by up to 1 billion Canadian dollars. This is because neglecting legislation does not stop sport betting activities taking place in the country. 

Pupatello added that legalization will allow the government to “capture more of the revenue that is currently going offshore or to unregulated or illegal beneficiaries.” But even more important would be the opportunities that sporting institutions and clubs could gain access to in terms of sponsorships. The Canadian sporting market could benefit significantly from a legal and thriving sports betting industry within its borders.

And as per Pupatello, the government could generate a significant chunk of revenues from sports betting while at the same time, getting as much money as possible, from the black market back to the mainstream market. 

Canada addresses money laundry in the gambling industry 

Canada has been facing a serious scourge of money laundering in recent years. Online gambling companies and illegal sports betting platforms have been singled out among the leading channels that are used to launder money in the country. 

Recently, details of an inquiry into money laundering through casinos in British Columbia, one of the most affected provinces, emerged setting everyone in the industry on high alert. All interested parties were required to apply in order to participate in the public inquiry. 

The Federal government and the Canadian Gaming Association received an outright qualification. But essentially, this inquiry shows that legislation in the Canadian gambling industry still faces tough challenges even in regulated segments of the market. 

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Canadian national leagues back legal sports betting

Nonetheless, with all the national sports leagues barring the National Hockey League already backing the New Democrat Party’s bill for the legalization of single-game sports betting, it looks like it is only a matter of time before legal sports betting comes to Canada.

In countries like the UK and various parts of Europe where sports betting is legal, sports association clubs and institutions have benefitted enormously through sponsorships. Legalization in Canada will see more sports betting companies open branches in the North American country thereby providing the sporting industry with a new stream of income, which could go a long way in supporting sporting academies, as well as, teams in various national leagues.

Conclusion

In summary, it looks like the Canadian sporting industry may be about to arrive at a turning point as legal sports betting gears towards legalization. This will open several opportunities as well as, boost government revenues through taxable sports betting income. 

This could also redirect a sizeable chunk of money from the non-regulated market to the mainstream market, thereby helping the government to deal with issues like money laundering more efficiently.

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