Canadian sports fans have a number of big events to look forward to in 2014. The NHL Winter Classic will hit the ice on January 1 as the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Detroit Red Wings in an original six battle on an outdoor rink. One month later on February 2, the Superbowl will be played in New York to conclude the NFL season.
But fans hoping to bet on the two big games are likely to leave money in their wallets. Canada’s sportsbetting laws as they stand, prevent bets on single games. Canadians are required to bet on a minimum of three separate sports games at a time, which is difficult to do on days that are set aside for special events like the Winter Classic or the Superbowl.
A bill was introduced to the Canadian Parliament over two years ago that if passed, would have reformed the laws, and legalized single game bets. But after readings, reviews, votes, and intense lobbying the bill, known as Bill C-290 remains stuck in the Canadian Senate.
Sportsbetting reformists argue that the Canadian law is out of date with the modern world. Online casinos and gambling domains, operating outside of Canadian jurisdiction, allow willing sports bettors to place bets on single games despite federal laws. Single bets are more attractive to the average Canadian, particularly in difficult economic times, and analysts estimate over $1 billion leaves the Canadian economy every year due to offshore single game betting.
Gambling and sports bets made at Canadian casinos or off-track betting sites are taxed by the federal government, and that money is then reinserted into the Canadian economy. But as more money is bet on offshore sites, sportsbetting reformists increase pressure to pass proposals like Bill C-290, in an effort to prevent more money from leaving Canada.
With the Winter Classic only weeks away and the Superbowl occurring a month after, it is unlikely Canadians en masse will be able to place a bet on the big games within Canada. As a result, supporters of Bill C-290 are encouraging all Canadians to pressure the Senate into passing the bill into law as soon as possible.