The House of Commons Votes Down a Bill Proposing Single-Event Sports Wagering In Canada

A proposed bill to legalize single-event sports betting in Canada has been voted down by the Canadian House of Commons. Bill C-221, dubbed the ‘Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, which was sponsored by Windsor-west MP, Brian Masse, was trounced convincingly by a 156-133 vote margin. As a result, single sports wagering remains unlawful in the country, and Canadians will still continue to wager on multiple sporting events.

Objective of Bill C-221

On its part, Bill C-221 sought to make changes to section 207 (4) (b) of the present criminal code which bars any type of sports betting with the exception of parlay sports wagers. Essentially, this legislation was an attempt to control and reduce illegal wagering on single sports events and provide oversight. What’s more, this Bill also meant to make sure the proceeds obtained from single sports wagering are channeled to employee salaries and become a source of tax for provincial governments to provide better healthcare and education services to the public.

Negative effects of the vote against Bill C-221

In reaction to the decision, Brian Masse spoke with CBC News and voiced his disappointed and frustration with the vote, saying that Canadian nationals illegally bet billions of dollars on single-game sports annually, and the Canadian government is set to continue to lose out on possible tax returns from this untapped market. Apart from lost tax income for the government, the vote opposing Bill C-221 also equals to lost employment and economic opportunities for the public and stops gaming operators and watchdogs from providing a risk-free and controlled environment across the country.

According to Masse, the biggest beneficiaries of the vote against single event sports betting are organized illegal gambling operators. They are set to continue raking in billions of dollars from single sports betting illegally while law bars certified regulated operators from offering these sorts of services. This type of organized crime is bound to grow beyond thinkable levels. Moreover, there’s no hiding from the fact that Canadian nationals are currently betting and determined to wager on single sports bets, and thus are more likely to place their bets through offshore operators in outside borders. Consequently, approximately $ 4 billion worth in taxes is bound to be lost to outside countries.

Previous legislation on single sports betting

Single-event sports wagering has often elicited controversy from years past. 4 years ago, legislation dubbed Bill C-290 was proposed on the same issue. However, that bill was delayed and turned down in the Senate. Many antagonists of the Bill C-221 presumed that the legislation supported the growth of gambling. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Billions of dollars are already being staked on single sports wagers annually in Canada.


Following the bill’s defeat, Masse is unconvinced that another legislation touching on single-event sports wagering will come up anytime soon in the current parliament. As a result, Canadians who are waiting anxiously to wager on single sports events like the Super Bowl legally will have to wait much longer. However, Masse adds that he does not feel dispirited. Although the bill has been voted down in its current form, the issue of single sports betting isn’t going away anytime soon.

Written by: Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson has been reporting for for more than 8 years. He studied journalism at UGC and has published two books on how journalism influences the world.

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