New cabinet shuffle gives Canadian sports bettors hope

Jul 17, 2013 |
By: Jon Campbell
For Canadian sports bettors unhappy with the Senate for failing to approve single-game sports wagering bill C290 by June 28, you might be happy to know the Upper House is getting some comeuppance.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his new cabinet this week and he made two major moves that should have Senators nervous and sports bettors optimistic.

1. He did not appoint a senator to his cabinet and  2. He assigned Ottawa Member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre to be the Minister of Democratic Reform.

It marks the first time in 40 years the government has shut the Senate out of cabinet, sending a clear message the government is sick of the Red Chamber's sense of entitlement (see spending scandal) and feet dragging on issues like C290.

And many are saying if anyone is going to drive that message home, it may be Poillievre. He said Senate reform is at the top of his priority list in his new role.

"People are demanding action on this because they’re angry with the current Senate,” he said Monday.

The reason why this is good for sports bettors is because it gives C290 new hope. The bill will likely be reintroduced in the House of Commons - hopefully this fall - for a standing vote and chances are good it will pass there as it did last fall with a majority Conservative government. From there,  it will go on again to the Senate for approval.

The last time this happened, the Senate gave the bill the runaround due to concerns that included players being vulnerable to fix a game because their wives are too greedy.

"Continued shameful inaction and procedural delaying tactics by the Senators only serves to fuel organized crime and illegal offshore bookmakers, because they are the ones who profit from illegal single-event wagering," said Bill Rutsey on June 28, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association.

With Senate reform looming as a possibility - which could mean bringing up the issue of abolishment of the Upper House - we could see a more open-minded Red Chamber this time around.

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