Sportsbetting Bill Defeated By Senate Inaction

The summer months are a time of reflection for Canada’s political leaders, and the unelected Senators have much to think about on this summer break.  Scandals plagued Canada’s upper house all through the spring, which prevented legitimate work on important pieces of legislation.

Sadly for Canadian sports bettors who were hoping the Senate would approve reforming the country’s outdated sportsbetting laws, the status quo will remain.  Bill C-290, a motion that was supported almost unanimously by the elected House of Commons, was also championed by law enforcement agencies, gambling support groups, casino executives, and nine of Canada’s ten provincial governments.  However, the unelected Senators chose not to put Bill C-290 to a vote before the summer break, which means the legislation is officially dead.

Pro-sportsbetting reformists staged numerous rallies across Canada, and the legislation was a central topic of discussion during the Canadian Gaming Summit in Montreal earlier this month.  The Canadian Gaming Association was one of the most vocal supporters of Bill C-290, and is extremely disappointed that the Senate chose to kill the legislation through inaction.  CGA CEO Bill Rutsey took to the press soon after the Senate rose for the summer, and was exceptionally critical that the Senators allowed partisan politics to overtake a motion that would benefit the Canadian economy.

While they waste time questioning whether or not people should gamble – a question that has been asked and answered decades ago – we watch more money leave the country.”

Rutsey is referring to online sportsbetting sites located outside Canadian jurisdiction that do allow players to bet on single games at a time.  Millions of dollars are wagered on these sites every year, which is money taken out of the Canadian economy.  Many of these unregulated betting sites are managed by organized crime, which was one of the central arguments in authorizing single game bets within Canada – to deal a significant blow to criminal empires.

The architects of Bill C-290 say they will reintroduce the bill to the House of Commons when the government returns to Ottawa in the fall.  Rutsey says in the meantime, supporters will remain engaged with Canadians to ensure the Senate will not usurp the will of the majority once again.

“We will engage more stakeholders who support the bill, and we will continue to press our case to protect Canadians, help our communities, and stop criminal activity.”

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