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Gambling on simple sports games, auto racing and fighting will soon be legal in British Columbia

By August 13, 2021January 3rd, 2022Sports games

“We are delighted to finally make this offer a reality for our PlayNow.com players, who for years have expressed a desire to be able to place sports bets on a single event on PlayNow.com.” – BCLC spokesperson Matt Lee

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Bettors in British Columbia will be able to place single game bets starting August 27. But it is not clear whether they will be able to do so elsewhere than in the government’s betting service.

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The federal government confirmed Thursday that new legislation coming into effect at the end of this month will leave the regulation of sports betting to the provinces.

“Canadians will have the opportunity to participate in single event sports betting in a regulated and secure environment at the discretion of the provinces and territories,” Attorney General David Lametti told reporters on Thursday.

Following Lametti’s announcement, a spokesperson for the BC Lottery Corporation confirmed that the crown corporation would be prepared to take bets on unique events, such as sports games, auto races and fights, via its online service PlayNow.com, from August 27.

“We are delighted to finally make this offer a reality for our PlayNow.com players, who for years have expressed a desire to be able to place sports bets on a single event on PlayNow.com,” said the spokesperson for BCLC Matt Lee in an email.

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Since 1985, PlayNow.com has been legally required to include two or more results in any sports bet, known as a “parlay”.

But bettors who wish to place similar bets in person and not online will have to wait.

Blame the technology, Lee said, because terminals currently installed in retail stores are not capable of taking single bets.

“Until then, Sports Action retail will continue to offer crippled sports betting,” he said.

And as it is, third-party operators are not legally permitted under provincial gaming control law to conduct, manage or operate a commercial gaming system in British Columbia, even though there are many offshore sites that accept bets from Canadians.

Don’t expect the BCLC’s legal monopoly to change after Thursday’s announcement, said Jon Festinger, a Vancouver lawyer who served as executive vice president of business and legal counsel for the Vancouver Canucks from 2005 to 2010. .

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“I think (BCLC) does not want to open it because they see themselves as a business whose responsibility is to create revenue for the government, and a lot of it is redirected to good ends,” he said. he declares. “It gives them a moral foundation.”

The BCLC pays its gambling revenues to the provincial government, which spends this money on education, health care, and community and cultural programs.

Still, there will likely be pressure for the market to open up further, said Jim Brander, a professor at UBC Sauder School of Business.

He pointed out another vice – alcohol – to be explained.

“I think it makes sense that the provinces regulate online gambling rather than the federal government,” he said. “It’s like alcohol; you want the people closest to the situation.

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And like gambling, alcohol sales bring in a lot of government revenue. For much of the last century, alcohol could only be purchased in stores operated by the provincial government.

“But gradually the private sector grew, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it did grow,” Brander added. Private liquor stores were first technically legalized in 1988, but their growth was limited by a moratorium that was not lifted until 2002.

Of course, the sale of alcohol is a tangible product. Selling bets is not.

“It’s a different product, but there are still similarities,” he said. “In the end, you prefer legalized and regulated businesses.

pjohnston@postmedia.com

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