Saturday June 29, 2013 : PROCRASTINATION KILLS CANADIAN SPORTS BETTING BILL – FOR NOW
Canadian Senate recesses without progressing C-290
Political observers who speculated that politicians in the Canadian Senate would see off a sports betting bill by stalling it until the body adjourned for the summer recess may have been right – this week the Senate rose without progressing Bill C-290, which sought to permit single game sports betting in Canada.
The bill has languished in the Senate for many months of dithering debate after receiving overwhelming approval in the House of Commons and achieving support from nine provincial governments and the Canadian Gaming Association.
This week the Association voiced its frustration and disappointment that the Senate chose not to deal with Bill C290.
"Continued shameful inaction and procedural delaying tactics by the Senators only serves to fuel organized crime and illegal offshore bookmakers, because they are the ones who profit from illegal single-event wagering," said Bill Rutsey, chief executive of the CGA.
"Again, I reiterate that we are talking about tens of billions of dollars leaving Canada and ending up in the hands of criminals. The Senate is obviously comfortable with this outcome, as they don’t see any urgency in dealing with the problem."
"What we are witnessing, unfortunately, is an unaccountable Senate that prefers to debate the morality of gaming and not the dangerous status quo that they are in no hurry to fix," Rutsey added.
"So while they waste time questioning whether or not people should gamble – a question that has been asked and answered decades ago – we watch more money leave the country, which means more Canadians are engaging in risky and unsafe behaviour.
"I remain shocked that the Senate doesn’t consider this an issue worth its attention."
The Association claims that also stagnating is the opportunity to create real economic benefits for Canadian communities. By offering legal single-event sports wagering, lottery corporations would once again possess a distinctive competitive advantage over American casinos, as well as generate jobs and additional remunerations.
Bill C290 is a simple amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code to permit wagering on the outcome of single sporting events. Canadians are currently only permitted to make parlay bets (wagering on the outcome of three or more events) which is an unpopular choice for many people, the CGA says.
"Unlike the Senators, we will not stop working during the summer," concluded Rutsey. "The accumulator on the C290NOW.ca website will continue to tabulate the leakage from the Canadian economy sanctioned by the Senate’s inaction; and we will engage more stakeholders who support the bill."