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Bill on single-game sports betting on cusp of passing — but not for first time

Last Updated Apr 22, 2021 at 11:30 am MDT

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady passes under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

OTTAWA — Lawmakers are debating single-event sports betting as legislation to legalize the activity reaches final reading in the House of Commons.

The would-be bill aims to amend Criminal Code provisions around gambling on single games of football, hockey and other sports, which is currently illegal except for horse-racing.

The private member’s bill from Conservative MP Kevin Waugh comes after similar NDP legislation zipped through the House with all-party support nearly a decade ago but foundered in the Senate and died when an election was called in 2015.

Las Vegas-style betting on single games would eat into the multibillion-dollar black market by legally opening the books to gamblers eager to lay down money on individual games rather than wagering on fixed odds around two or more games.

The prohibition’s initial aim was to curtail match-fixing — it’s easier to scheme when there’s just one game to manipulate — but it became increasingly ineffective amid the rise of offshore betting sites.

The legislation, known as Bill C-218, is slated for an hour of debate this evening, with potential passage in the House as early as Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press