Canada sports betting law “unlikely” to be passed

Canada sports betting law “unlikely” to be passed

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 Totally Gaming
Bob Runciman is pessimistic about the future of C-290

Sports betting expansion in Canada looks further away than ever after the politician who sponsored the bill that was unanimously passed by the House of Commons in 2012 said it was unlikely to become law before October’s election.

Senator Bob Runciman backed bill C-290 when it was presented to the Commons three years ago, but has watched it stall in the Senate since then.

C290 would allow gambling on approved sporting events permitted by Canadian regulators, building on the parlay betting which is currently allowed.

Runciman, speaking to network CBC News, said: “I would be surprised if it happens. There has been a lot of opposition inside all parties, but the bulk of resistance comes from inside the Conservative caucus.”

C290, introduced by NDP MP Joe Comartin, was intended to be reviewed by the Canadian Senate in January, but the upper chamber is now running out of time to approve it before the federal election in five months’ time.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa recently called for the bill to be passed to create new sources of revenue for provinces to spend on hospitals and education.

The Canadian Gaming Association estimates that Canadians spend CAN$450m (€331.3/$368.1m) a year on multiple or parlay bets, but more than $10bn illegally on single sporting events.

Brian Masse, the NDP MP for Windsor, criticised the Senate for ignoring the Commons and added that the prohibition of single-event betting was simply a boost for organised crime.

Masse told CBC News: “It reinforces the obsolete nature of the Senate and its total disdain for elected people.
“It's a windfall for organised crime. They will get more days where revenue will come in through bars, basements, back streets and nefarious internet sites.”

However, opponent Vern White, a Conservative Senator, said: “If we followed the line of thinking of Brian Masse, we would legalise cocaine and heroin too. Organised crime is doing it, so why don't we do it too?"

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