Canada will follow in the footsteps of its neighbour the US and legalise sports betting within the next two years. That was the bold prediction made in the Toronto Sun by Harley Redlick, who believes that Canada will need to make such a move in order to safeguard casino jobs and the economy and prevent money from leaking over the border to American gaming locations.

Emphasising the possible financial gulf that could open up between the two countries due to the nature of Canada’s gaming laws, he commented:  “Even though we are the more liberal country in terms of legalising recreational drugs, our old fashioned sports betting views are about to cost jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars — and will continue to make our underground bookmakers rich.”

According to Canada’s criminal code, governments may run lotteries but cannot sanction wagers on single sporting events. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in Ontario allow ProLine and sports betting, but only by wagering on multiple events or parlays. Bettors who want to make a legal wager on a Stanley Cup game in Canada must also bet on other games on the same ticket which decreases the chances of winning.

Redlick added: “It is just a shame we always have to react to the US versus proactively doing the right thing when we have the chance.”

The Canadian Gaming Association, which has been involved in two previous attempts to amend Canada’s Criminal Code to allow single-event sports wagering, has previously said that America’s move to go legal is a sign that the Canadian government should reverse its domestic ban on sports betting. “Canadians are wagering in excess of over $4bn per year, through offshore online sites and an additional $10bn through organised crime essentially. And they’ve chosen those routes because that’s the product they want,” said Paul Burns, president of the Canadian Gaming Association.