Sunday March 17,2013 : CANADIAN SENATE STILL STRUGGLING WITH SPORTS BETTING BILL (Update)
This should have been a sure thing, but over a year later the single betting issue drags on.
Recentpoker.com readers may recall Canadian MP Joe Comartin's attempt over a year ago to modify Canadian betting laws to permit single-game sports wagering, which sailed through the Commons but is now stuck at third reading stage in the Senate.
Technically, sports betting is already legal in Canada. Depending on the province, gamblers can place a parlay bet on a minimum of two or three teams – two on point spread, three on moneyline wagers.
But the logical extension of single-game wagering remains out of reach, and is being strongly opposed by major sports leagues such as the influential National Hockey League.
“We are strongly opposed to the bill, and we have made that position clear to the Senate,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Calgary Sun newspaper this week.
Tagged Bill C-290 in the Senate, the bill received a second reading back in November last year, with the NHL submitting a petition that claimed:
“Such [single game] wagering poses perhaps the greatest threat to the integrity of our games, since it is far easier to engage in ‘match-fixing’ in order to win single-game bets than it is in cases of parlay betting [as currently exists in Canada], where bets are determined on the basis of multiple game outcomes.”
Conservative Senator Bob Runciman told the newspaper that he doesn’t understand the objection, pointing out that both the NHL and NFL have looked into expansion overseas, where single-game sports betting has been legal for years in many places.
If the sports leagues prevail, and politicians shoot down the Comartin bill, it would be the first time that the Senate has rejected legalization passed unanimously by the Commons, The Calgary Sun notes, commenting that this is a battle with big money on both sides.