- BetMGM has signed Wayne Gretzky as a brand ambassador.
- This could portend the passage of single-game sports betting in Canada.
- If such betting is legalized, Gretzky is perhaps the top brand ambassador signing possible.
LAS VEGAS - BetMGM has signed Wayne Gretzky to a brand ambassador deal, even as Canadian sports betting remains in limbo.
The Great One will be representing BetMGM as a brand ambassador whether or not the Canadian Senate passes a sports betting bill that is currently on the floor.
Senate bill C-218, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, would legalize single-game sports betting in Canada.
Sports betting is currently legal in Canada in certain forms - kiosks and convenience stores are allowed to offer parlay wagering, but not single-game betting.
As any committed sports bettor knows, parlays tend to be tougher to win than single-game wagers.
According to the Canadian Gaming Association, up to $14 billion Canadian is spent on offshore gambling websites and black market bookies in Canada.
The idea behind the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act is that at least some of that $14 billion could go to the Canadian government should single-game sports betting be legalized.
The House of Commons passed the bill overwhelmingly, and the Senate passed it on second reading, but there are still hurdles to overcome, and the end of the parliamentary sitting is coming up fast.
The bill must pass a final reading in the Senate, and would likely also look to avoid amendments, as any amendments would send it back to the House of Commons.
This has happened before - a similar bill was passed by the House in 2012, but it sat in the Senate until it expired.
BetMGM bringing The Great One on could be an indicator that they expect Canadian sports betting to be an open market at some point in the future.
It could also just be a signing that comes amidst the NHL playoffs, and is something of a no-brainer for any company looking to advertise to hockey fans.
Still, the timing of this signing could bode well for the future of Canadian single-game sports betting.