HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveVolume 19Issue 13Canadian Sports Wagering Legislation Debate Continues

The Canadian Senate continues to debate Bill C-290, (“C-290”), legislation that, if passed, would allow single-game sports wagering throughout Canada by amending the country’s criminal code to remove the current ban on the practice. The most recent parliamentary debate was held on May 1, 2013. This debate was the sixth debate in the Senate on the proposed legislation during the Third Reading stage.

C-290 was first introduced by Joe Comartin (Windosr-Tecumseh) in February of 2011 to expand authorized sports wagering to include single-game wagers. Current law only allow for parlay-style wagers and are offered through provincial government products, such as Sport Select, Pro-Line, and the “Game Picks” parlay wagering currently offered at Casino Windsor. In March of 2012, C-290 unanimously passed in the House of Commons and was sent to the Senate for approval.

The bill, however, has faced opposition in the Senate in several readings and debates over the past year. During the initial discussions in the Senate last March, Senator Bob Runciman (Ontario) stated his support for the bill “not because I am a fan of gambling…but because it is obvious that anyone who wants to bet on a football or hockey game is already doing it. Rather than benefiting the provincial government, they are benefiting, among others, organized crime.”

Criticism of the legislation continued during the May 1 hearings, led by Senator Don Meredith (Ontario). Senator Meredith raised concerns over the proliferation of gaming and the potential for increased underage gambling and gambling addiction, stating that “[o]ur duties as parliamentarians should always be to help Canadians overcome evils and not to lead them to temptation through damaging legislation.” Following Sen. Meredith’s comments, the debate was adjourned.

C-290 remains in the Senate at its Third Reading, the final stage of debate before a final vote. A final vote on the legislation has not yet been scheduled as of the date of this publication.


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