While the US prepares for the post-PASPA landscape and the opportunity to generate billions of dollars in legitimate sports bets, the Canadian Gaming Association fears a far less positive outcome for its members. In a statement issued this week, the association said it welcomed the decision by the United States Supreme Court to strike down PASPA, but warned that Canada’s own sports betting regulation is in need of a fast overhaul.
Paul Burns, association president and CEO, commented: “While this is encouraging news for US operators, it further reinforces that the Canadian Parliament needs to act. Sports betting is a product enjoyed by millions of Canadians who spend billions illegally to access it. Provinces requested a simple amendment to our criminal code seven years ago, which would have provided greater regulatory oversight and control to sports wagering to protect consumers, athletes, and the integrity of sport. This request has fallen on deaf ears.”
Canadians evidently enjoy sports betting – they wager approximately $10bn annually through illegal bookmaking operations across the country, usually operated via organised criminal outfits. Additionally, more than $4bn is wagered through offshore online sports wagering sites. Currently, only $500m is wagered through legal provincial sports lottery products offered to Canadians.
The CGA statement concluded by calling on the federal government to make the simple amendment to the Criminal Code to permit single-event sports wagering. “This will provide provinces with the necessary tools to deliver a safe and legal option to Canadians as well as the power to address important issues such as consumer and athlete protection, while enabling the economic benefits to flow to licensed gaming operators, communities and provincial governments,” it urged.