Esports betting is on its way to legality this year in Canada

Esports betting is on its way to legality this year in Canada

This story about the decriminalization of esports betting, boiled down, in 2:42 minutes.

What's the fuss?

Canada's on its way to legalizing sports and esports betting country wide. With esports betting being extremely popular in the US and Europe, gamers and bookmakers alike are very excited for its full legalization in the North.

The situation

As per the Criminal Code of Canada, single-game sports betting (placing a bet on one game) is illegal country-wide. However, this isn't stopping Canadians from betting approximately $14 billion a year on sports through offshore websites and illegal bookmaking operations.

On February 17,  2021, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act was effortlessly approved by the House of Commons, which would decriminalize single-event sports betting across the country. The bill will effectively approve single-game bets country-wide by ultimately giving the provinces responsibility to regulate the industry themselves. Although further approval by the rest of Parliament would be required for the bill to become law, overwhelming bipartisan cooperation on its approval suggests its swift enactment.

In addition to traditional sports, esports are formally recognized in the bill's wording. With esports punters currently relying on offshore bookies to open accounts, the repeal of this illegality will allow Canadian betting sites to flourish and thus making it easier to bet domestically.

Boiling it down

With hordes of new fans entering the esports market, the global industry has seen unprecedented growth during the pandemic. Complementary to these increasing fan bases, worldwide esports betting turnover is projected to exceed $14 billion this year alone.

In response, betting operators are frantically improving their products to fulfill this growth by adding more competitive esports events in their portfolio. For instance, European bookmaker has expanded their available esports betting events from 3,000 in July 2019 to over 50,000 in July 2020. Out of the Middle East, LOOT.BET has increased their range of esports titles to capitalize on a 67% increase in betting volumes in 2020.

Even non-gamers have turned to esports betting to satiate their fix given sports leagues have stalled. Research shows that 22% of gamblers who have not previously tried betting on esports will consider doing so within the near future. Thanks to cross-selling to traditional sports bettors, simulation sports titles (i.e. FIFA, NBA 2K) saw record betting activity since the betting format is similar to traditional sports betting markets. In addition, traditional sports and esports bettors share the typical demographic of males in their mid-twenties, making the transition between communities more-or-less seamless.

Bookmakers are frothing at the mouth to enter into Canada, as the market is similar to the United States. With the current Canadian sports betting market being approximately $1 billion, experts believe it could hit $14 billion in the advent of single-game sports betting.  Since the Supreme Count struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, the total amount legally wagered on sports in the U.S. has exceeded $40 billion. With esports betting leading to job creation and other economic opportunities, it's no doubt that the Canadian government wants a piece of the precedented fiscal pie.

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