Thursday June 13,2013 : CANADIAN SPORTS BETTING BILL FACES END OF JUNE LEGISLATIVE DEADLINE (Update)
Senate recesses for the summer at the end of this month.
It's been well over a year now since the Canadian House of Commons passed private member's bill C-290, a proposal to change current restrictive canadian sports betting laws by allowing single-game wagering.
In the normal course of events the approval of the Senate would be routine, but political bickering and a busy schedule has instead created a situation where the bill could run out of time and fail if it is not approved before the Senate recesses for the summer at the end of this (June) month.
There are some who say that this negative outcome is exactly what some of the bill's opponents have in mind.
Supporters of the bill have been equally insistent that the proposal, which received overwhelming support in the Commons, be passed.
Drawing attention to the remarkable delays in the Senate this week will be a public demonstration in Windsor, Ontario in favour of the bill's passage, whilst Senate Leader Marjory LeBreton has let it be known that she would like to see long-delayed measures like C-290 finalised properly (instead of simply running out of time) before the Senate shuts down.
C-290 has strong support from the bricks and mortar industry and gambling-related trade unions, an unusual alliance that indicates the wide support that this measure enjoys.
In the latest debate on the bill in the Senate, the usual unsubstantiated political claims that problem gambling would increase were refuted by Sen. Terry Mercer, who used the results from a now aging but still powerful scientific study to back his argument.
Mercer referred to the 2007 scientific study of almost 43,000 subjects in 80 nations by the Division on Addiction of the Cambridge Health Alliance at Harvard University.
This scientifically factual and definitive attempt to settle the fallacies around sports betting once and for all was commissioned by the European online gambling group Bwin and received wide acclaim…but largely stony silence from gambling critics.
The key finding in the exhaustive and thoroughly documented study was that a massive majority of gamblers moderate their betting behaviour and know when to quit a session. Respected researchers reported that a whopping 99 percent of sports punters were ‘moderate’ gamblers, placing an average of four to five bets per week at an average stake of Euro 4, leading to a weekly loss of Euro 2.
The other 1 percent were categorised as more involved, placing an average 16 wagers a week with stakes over ten times higher, resulting in correspondingly larger losses. These gamblers particularly favoured in-play betting (42 wagers a week with stakes over Euro 50 per bet) and often branched out into poker and canada online casino gambling as well.
But the most telling comment was one made by the survey's authors, who observed that the results showed that speculation that internet gambling encourages excessive gambling amongst a significant proportion of gamblers simply wasn't so. And, as Mercer pointed out, a similar study at Harvard in 2011 largely confirmed the earlier findings, replacing political speculation and misinformation with scientifically derived fact.