HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveVolume 19Issue 4Debate Continues on Canadian Single Game Sports Wagering Bill

On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, the Canada Parliament continued its debate on Bill C-290 (“C-290), legislation that, if passed, would allow for single-game sports wagering throughout Canada. The bill, titled “an Act to amend the Criminal Code (Sports Betting)”, would amend the Criminal Code by removing the current ban on single-game sports wagering in Canada.

The bill was first offered to the Canadian House of Commons by Joe Comartin, a Member of Parliament representing Windsor-Tecumseh, in February of 2011. In introducing the bill, Mr. Comartin stated that “this is a very important bill from this perspective. That industry is very big, and it is entirely controlled by organized crime at the present time.” According to the Canadian Gaming Association, currently there is upwards of $10 Billion in sports betting going on in Canada, only $450 Million of which is considered legal. The bill was unanimously passed in the House of Commons on March 2, 2012.

The debate last Tuesday allowed opposing members to present their arguments against the bill in the Senate. Linda Frum, a Senator representing Ontario, focused on presenting the views of various professional sports leagues opposing the bill, stating that “[d]uring our committee hearings, the testimony of the representatives of major sports leagues – and I repeat the testimony of the organizations that are most directly impacted by this bill – was unequivocal. They strongly and vociferously opposed Bill C-290….They consider Bill C-290 to be an attack on their standards and on their industry.” Additional commentary noted the fear that expanded sports wagering would allow for widespread corruption of professional sports programs. Ms. Frum’s comments were echoed by fellow Senator John D. Wallace, representing New Brunswick, who stated his concerns that the bill would allow for negative impacts on amateur sports as well.

If passed, the bill would repeal s.200(4)(b) of the Criminal Code which prohibits placing monetary bets on “a single sporting event or athletic contest.” Currently sports wagering in Canada takes places through provincial government products such as Sport Select and ProLine, and only through parlay-style wagers.


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