Canadian Parliament is making another push to legalize single-event sports betting.
Third time’s the charm? Previous attempts to pass legislation have stalled, but a show of support from the NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB and Canadian Football League commissioners in June, as well as the continued expansion of sports betting across the U.S., has helped keep the effort alive.
Canadians spend an estimated $11 billion on sports betting each year, with the vast majority of that bet illegally. The only form of legalized betting in the country are parlay bets through lottery games, which bring in roughly $400 million annually.
Big Market: The gem of a legalized Canadian market would be Ontario, with a population of 14 million and two of the nation’s largest cities: Toronto and Ottawa. If it was in the U.S., it would be the fifth-largest state in terms of population, bigger than both:
- Pennsylvania: 12.8 million people; $525.8 million bet in October.
- Illinois: 12.6 million people; $305 million wagered in September.
Sports betting could result in $1.1 billion in revenue for Ontario after five years. The province is facing a nearly $30 billion budget deficit by the end of 2020.
- Toronto-based theScore could be the biggest winner in the legalization movement. The sports betting operator and media company has seen its shares jump nearly 70% on the Toronto Stock Exchange since Wednesday.
- Penn National, which owns a piece of theScore, and Caesars Entertainment, which operates casinos in Canada.
- Other sports betting companies, including DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM, would be able to apply for licenses in the different provinces if the bill was approved.