Canada is a country that combines natural beauty and urban sophistication in a unique way. In terms of total land area, the second largest country in the world has plenty to brag about. This sense of cultural identity extends to their thriving betting industry, as well as the legislation enacted to ensure its smooth operation.
When it comes to online betting, some countries around the world swing drastically from side to side. Despite the lure of easy money, Canadian residents and lawmakers have managed to maintain an unbiased stance. In most cases, laws adapt quickly while always keeping the best interests of the public in mind.
History of Canadian Betting Laws
With the exception of betting on horse races, all forms of betting were officially banned in Canada in 1892. Organized crime was primarily responsible for illegal betting.
The situation in the country remained unchanged until 1969, when the Criminal Code was enacted to allow legal betting in Canada. It has enabled local governments to organize sports lotteries with proceeds going to charity.
Some previously prohibited gambling activities were made available to the general public in 1970. In 1985, provinces and territories were granted the power to control operations such as slot machines, charitable games of chance and lotteries.
Illegal gambling is still a major source of revenue for modern organized crime leaders. A new generation of tech-savvy freelance criminals have embraced this practice. In both cases, these dishonest people are defrauding consumers, rigging sports competitions and not paying their fair share of taxes. As a result, municipal and provincial law enforcement are in greater demand.
The Canadian government quickly discovered that the betting industry could fill the treasury for a significant sum of money. As a result, the earlier boundaries began to erode, with more and more code changes being adopted. They greatly increased the authority of local governments to regulate betting.
An amendment was introduced in 1985 which allowed betting in the form of a lottery. This meant that you could buy a ticket with three to six winners listed on it. However, the activities of bookmaker companies as you are used to were nevertheless prohibited.
Over time, tickets evolved to include options such as an over or under total, as well as point differential possibilities. It was possible to bet on basketball and American football in this format. Lottery companies in Canada, such as Proline, have sold similar tickets.
With advances in technology and the introduction of the internet, more and more players have started turning to online betting. The companies were able to exploit the ambiguities of the Penal Code, which still prohibits sports betting, and manage their activities legally. Sports Interaction was the first legally available bookmaker. It was authorized on Kahnawake territory.
The gray area of the Canadian betting market
Since 1985, sports betting has been authorized in Canada. However, since single-game betting was prohibited, it was limited to betting bettors through provincial lotteries.
In June 2021, Canada passed the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act. The law gives provinces the power to regulate single-game online sports betting. At the time, online betting was not explicitly prohibited.
There were gray market operators, which were legitimate casinos that had operated for years in legal limbo in Canada. These were allowed to switch from unregulated operators to regulated operators. Offshore bookmakers who operated in Canada before legalization will not be fined or denied access to the legitimate market.
Canada’s Bill C-218
For many years there have been efforts in Canada to allow single match betting. Since 2015 and before, the subject has been debated in Parliament. Arguably, the legalization of sports betting in the United States was the catalyst for the complete legalization of sports betting in Canada.
Similar to the United States, top professional leagues and other players who once opposed legalization have changed their minds. They have publicly indicated their support for Parliament’s bipartisan legislative efforts.
The most recent attempt to allow single match betting was Bill C-218. It was a simple bill that would change the federal code to allow provinces to monitor and control single-game sports betting. It includes an exemption for horse racing and has been widely endorsed by virtually every key player in the gaming industry.
In February 2021, the law was passed by the House of Commons. Yet until June 23, 2021, his fate in the Senate was unknown. Canadian sports bettors will remember this day for the rest of their lives.
Role of C-218 in online betting in Canada
The passage of Bill C-218 effectively made single betting legal and viable in Canada. Currently, parlay style betting, live casino and lotteries are available in each of the ten provinces and three territories. These are managed by one of the five lottery commissions in the country.
Bill C-218 empowers each province to determine how and when sports betting is regulated. Provinces must decide who is allowed to offer online gambling and which sports are eligible for betting. They must also decide what types of bets are allowed.
If provinces want to do this, adding single-play online gambling to their current regulatory system will be relatively straightforward. Each province will make its own choice. Current lottery commissions are most likely to introduce single game betting to their online sports betting sites following the death of C-218.
On August 27, 2021, the Canadian Single Match Sports Betting Act came into effect. Surprisingly, few Canadians know about single game betting. Although single match betting is available in all provinces, expect a delayed implementation for retail sports betting. Several provinces could choose to keep their current platforms rather than undergo a major overhaul of their sports betting operations.
In Canada, betting operators do not pay any additional fees on top of income tax. Determined by the amount of profit, income tax rates range from 15% to 33%. As a professional gambler, you must pay taxes on your winnings. However, if you play at the bookmakers just for fun, you don’t say anything.
Finally, Canada seems to have discovered the ideal method to conduct legalized online betting within its borders. The majority of forms of online betting are legal, but there are reasonable restrictions and regulations in place to keep citizens safe. While no system is perfect, Canada’s legislative model serves as a beacon for all other countries.