Province Makes Push for Single-Event Sports Betting in Ottawa

The push for the legalisation of single-event sports betting in Canada is on. As the United States continues to open its sports betting market on a state-by-state basis, more groups and government officials across Canada are urging a serious conversation about a nationwide law.

Ontario pushed the conversation forward recently. When Ontario Premier Doug Ford put forward its budget proposal earlier in April, there was more than just the inclusion of legalised online poker and casino games. The proposal contained notes about wanting to meet with federal government officials in the hopes of legalising single-event sports betting.

Now, theScore has stepped in to request the ability to lobby the federal government for the same type of sports betting.

Momentum seems to be building around the issue, too. Consequently, the federal government may soon need to confront the issue and its supporters.

Ontario Finance Minister Ready for Single-Event Sports Betting

As mentioned, Ontario is ready to increase its gambling options. The OLG will then cease to be a monopoly if the budget proposal passes without any online gaming section changes. Companies will subsequently be welcomed to apply for licences and enter the market.

Meanwhile, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli has been pushing for legalised single-event sports betting for some time. He’s currently taking the budget opportunity to spread the word.

Fedeli has stated that its legalisation would provide much-needed revenue for the province. It will also give sports bettors the option to bet on one game or event rather than a group of three games, all of which have to be bet correctly to win, as is now required. Single-event betting would welcome many more people into the sports wagering world, opening the market to more revenue and competition to the growing US market.

“This is really important to offer choice for the people of Ontario, especially now that several American states have opened up legalised online gambling,” said Fedeli. “It should generate revenues for the province of Ontario, but primarily, it’s about legalising something and offering choice for families.”

theScore Ready to Lobby

One company is ready to step into the fray and lobby for legal single-event sports betting and an open market. That company is theScore, an entity that creates digital sports platforms and operates theScore mobile app. Approximately one million fans in North America already use the product. Furthermore, the company is preparing to launch a mobile sportsbook for states in the US where it is being legalised.

Founder and CEO John Levy said the company welcomed the mention of single-event sports betting in the Ontario budget and supports the Progressive Conservative government’s move to legalise it. “We applaud the Ontario government for taking this very significant first step,” said Levy in a press release.

Levy wants to be able to offer theScore to bettors in Ontario and beyond when possible.

“As we prepare for the launch of our sportsbook in the United States, we intend to actively participate in the Ontario government’s consultation process,” Levy commented. “theScore is already a high-recognised brand in Canadian mobile sports and the most popular mobile sports app in the country. We’ll be ready to provide Canadian fans with a best-in-class mobile sports betting experience when the opportunity arises.”

Levy took it to the next level by working with the Pathway Group of Toronto. Founding partner Peter Curtis filed a registration with the federal Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying to work toward legalised single-event sports betting on behalf of theScore. Curtis plans to aim his efforts at MPs and the Prime Minister to legalise the games.

Catching Up with US

The United States only opened the door for its states to legalise sports betting in May 2018. Since then, nearly a dozen states have legalised it within their individual borders. Most have chosen to permit sports betting via mobile apps and land-based casinos or racetracks only. But some are also opening the door to online sports betting as well.

More than a dozen other states are currently debating legalised sports betting bills. By the end of 2019, there could be as many as 20 states with legal sports wagering in some form.

And many of those states are located along the Canadian border. All but three of them could soon have options appealing enough to Canadians that they could cross the border to bet, as many of them do for lottery tickets.

This is why Fedeli, other government officials, and lobbyists are prepared to fight so hard for single-event sports betting. They want to do so now before the US market becomes prevalent and too enticing for Canadians.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


Catch 2020 WSOP Main Event on ESPN This Sunday

Catch 2020 WSOP Main Event on ESPN This Sunday

Jennifer Newell
February 27th, 2021

888poker Introduces New Poker Tournament Collection

888poker Introduces New Poker Tournament Collection

Jennifer Newell
February 26th, 2021

’Slots’ of Fun with these Cartoon Classics

’Slots’ of Fun with these Cartoon Classics

Derrick Oliver
February 25th, 2021