Canadian Sports Betting Legislation Likely to Stall

Posted on: April 14, 2013, 05:59h. 

Last updated on: April 13, 2013, 04:01h.

Reports suggest that the single-game sports betting legislation in Canada is likely to reach an immovable object shortly following opposition from the nation’s Senate.

Senator Bob Runciman, a crucial component and backer of the C-290 sports betting legislation, which was introduced into the House of Commons by Member of Parliament Joe Comartin last year, told news firm Quebecor Media Inc. that the bill is expected to hit the wall before the Senate breaks for summer in a few weeks, with a negative outcome being the likely result.

Runciman explained that due to the number of senators actively opposing C-290, there “just isn’t enough time on the calendar” to hold a vote on the matter.

New Bill Would Expand Sports Betting

Currently, Canadian sports betting is limited to parlay wagering offered by the provincial lottery corporations. However, the new bill would be an amendment to the Criminal Code and would permit Nevada-style single-game wagers.

However, the bill passed the House in March 2012, and a negative outcome would almost be unprecedented as only eight pieces of legislation passed by the House have been vetoed in the last seven decades. This is especially true when you consider the fact that the bill did not receive a single opposing vote when it was passed by the House.

Opposition from Pro Sports

October saw the first signs of opposition to the legislation when Major League Baseball representatives informed a Senate committee that they were apparently shocked by news of the possible legislation. This appears to have swung the opinions of a number of upper house members who took on the sports leagues’ claims that the new legislation could damage the integrity of their product.

They also made unprecedented and closed-minded claims that legal sports betting could damage Canadian society as a whole. Clearly meeting the demands of a recreational pastime is not high on the agenda of the organizers of a national sport.

MP Is on Board

However, MP Brian Masse has vowed to lobby senators “til the end” in order to ensure that a fair position on sports betting is adopted. In fact, Masse has vowed to reintroduce the bill if it does fall flat this time around, while Runciman has implied that the C-290 bill could in fact materialize later as either a standalone legislation, or part of a budget bill in coming years.

To back up Runciman’s suggestion, the ruling Tory party of Canada has reportedly made somewhat of a habit of bulking together all manner of unrelated legislations into omnibus bills. What’s more, since they currently hold a majority in the House, virtually any legislation can be passed if the Tory party wishes to do so.

So while it seems as though it may not quite be the time for the new legislation to pass through the Senate, it does appear likely that new reforms will take place and we may, in fact, see a change to the legislation of sports betting throughout Canada, much to the jubilation of those who enjoy a recreational bet or two.