Single game sports betting passes Justice Committee unanimously, progresses to final legislative step

Photo courtesy: Kevin Waugh

The CFL’s dreams of single game sports betting just got one step closer to reality, passing through the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights with a unanimous vote in favour on Thursday.

Bill C-218, known as the safe and regulated sports betting act, was introduced last year by Saskatoon-Grasswood member of parliament and noted Rider fan Kevin Waugh as a common-sense change to end an outdated restriction on single-event sports betting, an industry worth $14 billion in Canada.

The bill is now scheduled to progress to a Third Reading in the House of Commons, the final legislative step before approval.

During the Second Reading, members of parliament from all parties voted 303 in favour of the bill, with only 15 against it. In the previous parliament, this same bill was defeated by the Liberals during the second reading.

Momentum is now behind the bill and it is expected to pass the Third Reading quickly. Last year the CFL signed a joint statement with the NHL, NBA, MLB and MLS to legalize single-game betting north of the border and commissioner Randy Ambrosie wrote to the Standing Committee prior to Thursday’s vote, calling the legislation ‘a vital economic tool’ for the league.

Some believe the addition of gambling revenue could help solve the CFL’s financial woes and with the tension mounting ahead of an uncertain 2021 season, some good news from the federal government is needed.