Canadian single-game sports betting bill will die in Senate

Apr 10, 2013 |
Canadian sports bettors are wishing that the debate over the future of the Senate ended long ago.

Senator Bob Runciman said Tuesday that he expects Bill C-290 to die when the Senate goes on summer break in a few weeks, according to SunNewsNetwork.ca.

The House of Commons passed Bill C-290 unanimously in March 2012. The bill would have legalized single-game sports betting and allowed any provincial gaming organization to use it to generate revenue. 

"There just isn't enough time on the calender," Runciman said to Sun News, referring to the time the Senators need to debate the bill in the Red Chamber before voting.

Only eight times in the past 70 years the Senate has rejected a bill passed in the House of Commons, according to the Windsor Star.

NDP MP Brian Masse said to the Windsor Star that senators have been influenced by the major sports leagues, who are arguing in both Canada and the United States that if single-game sports gambling was legalized in either country, that games could eventually be compromised.

"This bill jeopardizes the integrity of professional sports," the NHL wrote to the Senate, according to the Toronto Star.

"The proposal ... intends to turn our games into a money-making venture for the provincial governments to the detriment of our players, our coaches, and how our fans perceive our games," the NFL wrote to the Senate, according to the Toronto Star.

"If the Senate defeats this bill it would further ingrain the desperation to reform our democracy," said Masse to the Windsor Star in November 2012. "The message would be poorly received by the public."

One of the biggest discussion points in Canadian politics is the future of the Senate and its role in Canada's democracy.

Both Masse and Runciman claim that the bill would generate revenue for Canadian casinos and legalize an activity that many Canadians do online, taking that money from offshore books and keeping it in the country.

Masse also says that the league's argument doesn't hold water because bets can be taken on the Internet, in Las Vegas and with illegal bookies, and argues that betting raises interest in the sports.

"I don't see the NHL, the NBA and the NFL pushing to end that," Masse said to The Windsor Star last November. "Imagine the NFL making a concerted effort to stop all betting on the Super Bowl. That would never happen."

Both the Ontario Gaming and Lottery Corporation and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation wanted the bill ratified.

The closest thing to single-game sports betting in Canada is the Atlantic Lotto Corporation's Pro-Line, where a bettor can pick a ticket with a minimum of two games on it.
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