BCLC calls on Ottawa to legalize single-event sports betting in Canada

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British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is urging Ottawa to pass Bill C-13, the enabling legislation that would permit Canadians to make single-event sports bets.

Currently, BC players are only able to place single-event sports bets by going across the border to Washington State casinos or on unregulated offshore websites. If single-event sports betting is legalized, BCLC contests that it can shift this play to BC casinos and its own PlayNow.com site, where the health of players is prioritized and where revenue helps support provincial initiatives such as healthcare, education and community programs.

PlayNow.com, owned and operated by BCLC, is the only regulated gambling website in BC. Legalization of single-event betting would, argues the Corporation, help it to quickly create a new suite of sports-betting opportunities that players currently access on websites operating illegally in the province.

Stewart Groumoutis, BCLC’s director of eGaming, commented: “Our players have wanted single-event sports betting for a long time. For example, this weekend is the Super Bowl and our players want to be able to simply bet on the winner, which they are unable to do under the current legislation. 

“We’re encouraging the federal government to modernize laws so we can provide single-event betting to our players and generate additional revenue to support provincial programs.”

In the longer term, in land-based casinos and community gaming centers, BCLC said it would work with industry, regulator and government partners to introduce licensed sportsbooks in key markets. Additionally, the Corporation would consider enhanced sports-betting offerings at hospitality locations across BC that sell lottery products. 

For example, players would be able to place a bet on the Canucks game outcome, and follow along while at their local bar or pub.

BCLC expects single-event sports betting would generate an estimated $125m to $175m in additional revenue through online and land-based opportunities. In fiscal year 2019/20, thanks to players, BCLC generated $1.3bn in net income for the province, helping to support education, community programs and healthcare.