Single-game sports betting is now legal in Canada, creating a multibillion-dollar market

August 13, 2021

The federal government has given provinces permission to authorise greater sports betting than is currently permitted.

The federal government has made it legal to bet on individual sporting events, giving legitimacy to a shady sector that already generates billions of dollars in revenue for Canadians.

"Canadians will have the opportunity to participate in single-event sport betting in a regulated and safe environment, at the discretion of the provinces and territories," Attorney General David Lametti told a news conference.

Canadians spend around $10 billion a year on single sporting events, according to the federal government, as part of illicit black-market betting by organised criminal networks. Canadians spend an additional $4 billion every year on the so-called grey market, in offshore jurisdictions where such wagers are permitted.

The new laws may allow that money to be brought back into Canada in a form that can be tracked and taxed.

"Canadians have been betting on sports for a long time, but there's been a relic in the Criminal Code that has prevented betting on individual events," said St. Catharines, Ont., MP Chris Bittle, who attended the event.

"We have an opportunity to regulate, control it and take the money out of the hands of organized crime."