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Single Game Sports Betting Legislation Introduced In Canada

Published: November 26, 2020 1:15 pm ET

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On Thursday, Canada’s Justice Minister David Lametti unveiled proposed legislation to legalize single-event sports betting across the country while keeping horse racing in a separate system.

Under Canadian law, it is currently illegal to bet on single sporting events and thus a modification to the Criminal Code would need to be approved. The planned changes to the law would allow Canadian provinces to issue licenses for entities to accept bets on all sporting events with the exception of horse racing.

In response to the Federal Government introducing a Bill that proposes to legalize single event sports wagering in Canada, Woodbine Entertainment issued a statement congratulating the Government of Canada for considering the potential impacts to the horse racing industry.

"While the proposed Bill to Amend the Criminal Code would permit single event sports betting on most sports, Woodbine Entertainment is pleased that under the new proposed legislation, fixed odds wagering will not be permitted on horse racing," said the track in its statement on Thursday.

"On behalf of the entire horse racing industry and the more than 50,000 jobs it represents throughout Canada, I would like to congratulate the Government of Canada and Minister Lametti for clearly considering the interests of horse racing as related to the potential legalization of single event sports wagering,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment.

“We look forward to continuing to represent the views of the horse racing industry throughout the legislative process in the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada to ensure that our role continues to be supported and strengthened where possible,” said Lawson. “This includes collaborating with the Federal and Provincial Government in future discussions regarding the impacts sports betting may have on horse racing while looking to enhance opportunities that would benefit the industry and the tens of thousands of people it employs.”

In its statement, Woodbine Entertainment also offered its support for the legalization of fixed odds single event sports betting so long as it is provided an opportunity to be involved in a meaningful way.

“For many decades, Woodbine Entertainment has legally operated single event wagering through a pari-mutuel model, earning the trust of bettors and government agencies, while developing safe and secure technologies that could also benefit single event sports wagering,” said Lawson. “Throughout our future discussions with government authorities, we look forward to demonstrating how we can play a meaningful role in the execution of the legalization of sports betting that leverages our industry-leading experience and technology in single event wagering, while also offering a solution that would ensure any profits derived from sports betting remain in our economy.”

On Thursday afternoon, John Hayes, Independent Chair of Ontario Racing, thanked “the Government of Canada and Minister Lametti for taking into account the importance and significance of horse racing and the many jobs in Ontario that depend on the horse racing industry, in regards to the potential legalization of single event sports wagering in our country.

“We are grateful to Woodbine Entertainment for ensuring the best interests of horse racing and horsepeople in Ontario remains a top priority,” continued Hayes. “Ontario Racing will continue to work in concert with Woodbine Entertainment and other industry partners to support and promote our world-class racing and the thousands of people its employs.”

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