Canada has been plagued by ongoing scandals in the Senate over the past year, the most toxic involving expense claims made by Senators that are reimbursed by taxpayer money, leading the RCMP to investigate if federal charges will be laid against suspect Senators – such as Mike Duffy.
The Senate provides the final stamp of approval on Parliamentary bills that change or adjust Canadian laws, and under the current system is a requirement for reform in Canada. Since the system requires the upper house of Parliament, Canadians are rightfully angry when Senators abuse their power to profit at the expense of ordinary citizens.
The Senate is currently home to Bill C-290, Canada’s long debated and long delayed sportsbetting reform bill. The bill, which would reform gambling laws to authorize single game bets at casinos, racetracks, and other licensed institutions – passed through the House of Commons with near unanimous consent.
Bill C-290 was passed onto the Senate, and has remained stalled in the upper chamber for two years. Senators have repeatedly ignored the demands of Canadian gamblers, casinos, law enforcement, as well as the majority of provincial governments by refusing to debate or vote on Bill C-290.
A new twist was thrown into the sportsbetting debate when Senators Larry Campbell and Paul Massicotte declared conflicts of interest regarding Bill C-290. Campbell is on the board of directors for the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, while Massicotte holds professional ties to the horseracing industry in Quebec.
The two Senators are privately in positions where any adjustments to Canadian gambling laws would help their businesses, and by extension themselves, profit from the reforms. If the Senators do vote on the bill, they will, like many of their colleagues use their Parliamentary privileges for profit. These setbacks likely mean sportsbetting reform will be even further down the road for Canada.
Under the country’s current gambling laws, players must put money on a minimum of three separate sports games to legally place their bets. Bill C-290 would adjust the law by accepting single game bets to remain competitive in an increasing online gambling environment. Experts with the Canadian Gaming Association believe Canadians bet over $1 billion upon online sportsbooks based outside of Canadian jurisdiction.