TORONTO – March 25, 2021 – Today, with a unanimous vote, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights amended Private Member’s Bill C-218 to offer protection to the horse racing industry in Canada. Under the new proposed legislation, fixed odds wagering on horse racing would not be permitted.
“This is great news for the horse racing industry and the tens of thousands of jobs it supports across Canada,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. “On behalf of the industry, thank you to the Standing Committee for listening to our perspective and recognizing the need to protect horse racing from unintended consequences caused by the legalization of sports betting.”
PMB C-218 was introduced by MP Kevin Waugh to legalize Single-Event Sports Betting in Canada. The horse racing industry supports the principle of the Bill but led a significant cross-party advocacy effort to ensure Committee members understood the unintended consequences to the industry if protections were not included. As part of those efforts, horse racing hall of fame jockey Sandy Hawley and representatives from the Central Ontario Standardbred Association, Horsemen’s Benevolent Protective Association of Ontario, Racetracks of Canada, Quebec Jockey Club and Woodbine Entertainment appeared as witnesses over the past several weeks as the Standing Committee studied the proposed Bill.
The Bill will now proceed to Third Reading in the House and, if passed, head to the Senate for review.
“As the legislation process continues, our industry will remain active to ensure the protections remain in the Bill through the Senate process,” Lawson added. “We also recognize that with this potential emergence of sports betting in the near future, our industry will face increased competition in the legal wagering market and must pursue additional sources of revenue to further protect our industry.”
As an established leader and trusted Canadian organization in regulated single-event sports betting in Canada, Woodbine Entertainment will continue to advocate for an opportunity to participate in sports betting in a meaningful.
“We look forward to continuing to engage with government and other stakeholders to offer our expertise in regulated sports wagering as Canada prepares for this new and emerging sector,” Lawson said. ““The opportunity for us to offer our leadership in this sector has the potential for sports betting to be a very positive development for the horse racing industry across the country.”
In addition to its efforts in sports betting, Woodbine Entertainment will continue to advocate for the legalization of Historical Horse Racing on behalf of the industry.