Single-game betting worries Canada’s horse racing operators

By Violeta Prockyte

Canada’s legislators are looking to pass an amendment to the Criminal Code that would legalise single-event sports betting in the country.

Single-game betting is currently illegal except in horse racing, and betting on other sports is more centered around several games at a time. Bill C-218 was proposed by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh and would allow gamblers to bet on single games in other sports. He also says it should help with illegal gambling.   

While horse racing operators tentatively support the bill, they released an address to the Government where they asked to ensure the horse racing industry and its 50,000 jobs would be protected.

Another concern is fixed odds. Generally, odds in horse racing fluctuate until the horse leaves the starting gate. If other operators, such as casinos, start accepting wagers on horse races, it’s more than likely their odds would be fixed, which might make them more appealing to the player.

“Horse-racing wagerers that would access fixed-odds betting will move away from the Canadian parimutuel pools,” said Woodbine Entertainment Group CEO Jim Lawson. “This will dramatically cannibalise the Canadian horse racing industry’s market share, and these operators would earn their revenue without contributing to the substantial cost of producing our content.”

He added that casino operators wouldn’t have to share their profits with horse racing associations or breeding programs, which could further harm the industry.

“Overall, we continue to be optimistic about receiving the protection our industry deserves and remain hopeful we will be provided with an opportunity to participate in sports betting in a meaningful way," he added.

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