Provincial lottery corporations wrap up the Canadian Gaming Summit in Montreal today. The Summit is an interactive, educational forum for all sectors of the Canadian gambling community, but much of the attention at this year’s gathering was devoted to the sportsbetting bill, known as Bill C-290.
The sportsbetting bill has been held up in the Senate for 470 days since it passed through the House of Commons, much to the frustration of the legislation’s supporters. If the bill is passed, it will authorize provincial governments to decide if legalizing single game bets is in their best interests. The bill would allow single bets at designated casinos and racetracks, the latter of which would benefit immensely from revenue sharing arrangements due to declining slots revenues.
Bill Rutsey, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, spoke about the merits of Bill C-290 at the Montreal Summit. Rutsey says for every day that the Senate has held up the legislation, Canadians gambled over $38 million on offshore online casinos and sportsbetting sites that do provide single game betting options. Rutsey notes many of these sites are unregulated, and cost the Canadian economy billions of taxable, gambling revenues.
“By not passing Bill C290, the Senate is preserving the status quo – essentially forcing Canadians to turn to unregulated Internet sites and criminals. Why some Senators are opposed to regulating this activity is baffling.”
Bill C-290 is supported by eight provincial governments, which represent nearly three quarters of the Canadian population. The legislation was also vouched for by economic committees, police chiefs, and provincial gaming regulators. Michael Graydon, President of the BCLC, stood alongside Rutsey in championing the sportsbetting amendments.
“I fully support Bill C290 because Canadians should be allowed to make fair wagers in safe, secure, and regulated environments.”
The Senate will rise for a summer break before the end of the month, which automatically defeats any outstanding legislation that has yet to be put to a vote. Attendees at the Canadian Gaming Summit are making a final stand to convince Senators to pass the bill before the Parliamentary session expires.