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Single-game sports betting now legal in B.C.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C. sports fans can now bet on big games like the Grey Cup, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, or the Super Bowl.

The BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC)  is now taking bets on individual events — from prize fights, to Nascar races, to baseball games — thanks to Bill C-218, Ottawa’s Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act. The bill received Royal assent in June, and became the law of the land Aug. 27.

Matt Lee with the BCLC said the impact of the change was almost immediate.

“It’s a really exciting day for us. We turned the switch on this morning we’ve already seen quite a bit of uptake in bet betting activity over the last few hours,” he told NEWS 1130 Friday afternoon.

“Our first bet was on Aussie rules football, if you can believe it. That was just a few minutes after we enabled the one sports betting, and we’re really excited to finally start offering this to our players.”

RELATED: Single-game sports betting allowed in Canada as of Aug. 27

Under previous legislation, people weren’t allowed to place a wager on multiple events to prevent fixing in sports. However, gaming associations long argued that it has just driven billions of dollars to illegal bookies.

“We knew for a long time that players in B.C. were making single event sports bets illegally on some of those grey market websites. It certainly didn’t help us,” Lee says.

“We’re hoping that having single event sports bets allows us to keep a lot of that gambling revenue here in B.C.”

Even if people weren’t using unsanctioned sites, Lee says the requirement to bet on multiple events was a deterrent to both casual and more serious players.

“It was such a hurdle in terms of trying to get players to dip their toes in the water. Now, you’re perhaps watching the BC Lions this weekend and you’re able to just sit back maybe have a little bit of skin in the game, watch it, follow along, and have some fun along the way,” he says.

“For those experienced sports bettors, it does remove that hurdle that they had in terms of trying to make single event sports bets, and hopefully makes that more fun for them as well.”

In a statement, BCLC says its website features “numerous responsible gambling safeguards” including the option of chatting online or over the phone with people who can “support players with healthy play habits, and can refer them to treatment and support services if needed.”

In 2020/2021, $252-million, a record in revenue for the province.

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