Canada: The Uncertainty of Sport Betting

Lillie Mcguire
Posted on May 03, 2013 at 12:05pm

Sports BettingPredicting the legalization of single sport betting in Canada is about as easy as predicting the future legalization of online poker in the USA. Canadian Criminal Code permits par i-mutual betting which is defined as placing bets on more than one sporting event at a time. Under current Canadian ordinances, each of the five provinces has the right to develop and implement wagering practices and policies and to form a lottery commission for the purpose of oversight as opposed to gaming/gambling legalization in the U.S., which could result in 50 different sets of rules, policies and regulatory entities.

Canadian Bill C-290 ultimately places this issue up to individual provincial discretion and furthermore suggests that operational licensing guidelines be instituted in conjunction with each provincial government. One bone of contention appears to be that Bill C-290 is stuck somewhere in the stack of documents awaiting Senate action. Unlike the U.S., the Canadian Senate is an appointed/non-elected body whose duty is to rubber stamp bills that have received enough votes for passage by the House of Commons. Sen. Linda Frum questions the amount of time that has been spent in close, line-by-line scrutiny of the bill. One fly in the ointment appears to be that single sport betting opens the door to fixing issues. In some parliamentary circles, innuendos have surfaced maintaining that a fixing issue to avoid confronting/debating the bill itself is occurring in Senate/Red chambers. Proponents argue that passage of C-290 will result in revenue generation.

They also cite the fact that U.S., gamblers residing in Canadian border states would frequent Canadian casinos where this type of activity would be legal. Proponents also cite the fact that there are enough individual, licensed operators capable of handling all aspects in accordance with the law. Opponents cite the fact that should the failure of the Senate to act upon C-290 would go down in history since the Senate has never before failed to approve a majority-favored House of Commons bill.

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