2 min read

RGC speaks at House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights

By: RGC
March 22, 2021

Sports betting has been steadily growing in popularity with Canadians spending billions every year on illegal or offshore betting that have no safeguards in place. It is more important than ever that issues and risks are identified to support a safer sports betting industry.

A regulatory framework that protects consumers

In February the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) was invited to speak at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Bill C-218: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code. If passed, this bill would remove restrictions placed on single-event sports betting and enable provinces and territories to implement a regulated sports betting market. RGC believes that the legalization of single-event sports betting presents an opportunity to have a positive and significant impact on reducing the harms that sports wagering can cause to individuals, families and societies.

Canada is a leader in responsible gambling and RGC believes that should Bill C-218 be passed this can allow for a robust, regulatory frameworks for single-events sports betting to be put in place, ensuring we maintain our high standards for responsible gambling and consumer safeguards.  Regulations would not only establish guardrails for operators to be accountable to, but also signal that a strong consumer protection strategy, that includes prevention education programming and collaboration with health professionals, is priority within the regulations.

It is in the field of responsible gambling and accountable health promotion and protection that RGC takes its position with two recommendations to the Committee:

Recommendations

  1. The legalization of single-event sports betting includes a robust regulatory framework that requires provincial regulators and operators to prioritize and integrate consumer protection within their strategy; including adherence and accountability to the highest standard of responsible gambling.
  2. The federal government continues to champion the prevention of addictions and preservation of individual’s mental health and well-being, in accordance with Canada’s Mental Health Commission Strategy. This can be achieved by prioritizing consumer safety and supporting the provincial authorities to develop comprehensive responsible gambling strategies and build their capacity to support individuals, when they introduce legalized sports betting.

The expansion of regulated online gambling will mean the introduction of new operators into Canada, calling for the creation of a national standard for sports betting that will ensure all platforms are meeting a consistent set of responsible gambling metrics that protects consumers. This along with active participation from a wide range of stakeholders and a public health approach that focuses on at-risk populations will contribute to mitigating the harms associated with gambling.

If you have further insights and would like to discuss how Canada can work together to create a strong regulatory framework for sports betting, contact Shelley White.

Read RGC’s full submission.

 

The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is a respected, independent non-profit organization. We have been a leader in the prevention of problem gambling in Canada and globally for more than 35 years.

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