In November, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada introduced a bill that proposes to decriminalize single-event sports betting. Should the bill be passed, esports gambling companies like Esports Entertainment Group could open the door for Canada’s gambling industry.
Who is EEG?
Esports Entertainment Group, Inc. (EEG) (NasdaqCM: GMBL, GMBLW) is a Malta-based company that offers fixed-odds wagering, fantasy and pools on various esports through its online sportsbooks, VIE Esports and SportNation.bet. It also organizes both live and online events and tournaments, in addition to live broadcast production, game launches, and online branded tournaments through its Esports Gaming League division.
Over the past year, EEG has curated a new senior leadership staff, completed several significant acquisitions, including Helix Esports and Esports Gaming League, formed a US-based subsidiary, and obtain naming rights to Dignitas’ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team. The company also signed its first NFL, MLS and NHL partnerships in 2020.
Esports Betting in Canada
Canada is home to an estimated 5.6 million esports fans, per analyst firm Viventel. Sports betting didn’t become legal in the country until 2016, when gambling operator Loto-Québec introduced new options for excited fans.
Esports gambling laws vary from province to province in Canada, making it difficult for local operators to build a wide audience. Esports betting has yet to reach the level of traditional sports in the country. You can still place bets with offshore operators and not be subject to criminal proceedings (which is why so many bookmakers, including EEG, are based out of Malta.)
Impact on Canada
Esports Entertainment Group stands to gain significantly from the proposed Bill C-13, which would legalize single-event sports wagering in Canada. Should the bill pass, Canadians would have a chance to engage in esports wagers in a regulated environment, either online or in physical facilities.
As the first online gambling company to be traded on the American stock exchange, EEG boasts a level of legitimacy that will only help attract legal gambling operations to the country. Professional teams like the Toronto Defiant and Luminosity Gaming offer esports fans the opportunity to bet on local athletes.
Economically, the legalization of single-event sports betting could benefit Canada while offering a new level of entertainment for its citizens. Esports global gambling revenue is set to double to $14 billion in 2020, according to research from global consumer surveyors 2CV and market analysts ProdegeMR.
The proposed changes would give provinces and territories the ability to offer single-event sport betting products and the opportunity to manage single-event sport betting in their respective jurisdictions. Individual provinces and territories can choose to offer single-event sport betting. EEG is already in a position of respect, so it can move in quickly to organize tournaments, partner with brands, and corner the market early.
What to expect
Esports Entertainment Group issued a statement regarding proposed Bill C-13, saying that strong cross-party support and clear demand to modernize sports betting laws in Canada exist. The company commended the federal government for its efforts to legalize single-event wagering.
“We are well-positioned to capitalize on this new frontier should the amendment pass,” said Grant Johnson, CEO of Esports Entertainment Group, in a press release. “Having personally worked with Canadian Parliament member Dennis Mills in 1998 on one of the earliest legislative efforts regarding legalization through Private Members Bill C353, the current substantive progress is extremely exciting.”
Johnson added that EEG’s VIE platform is the only esports vertical focused wagering platform with Tier 1 licenses and a “track record of working within a transparent and comprehensive compliance environment,” signaling that the company is confident it can make a big splash in Canada’s future esports gambling scene.
Written by HB Duran