New sports betting legislation for Canada

Canada will get another shot at approving single-game sports betting legislation, although it remains to be seen as to whether the effort will garner any more success the second time around.

The C-290 sports betting bill was approved by Canada’s House of Commons in 2012, only to have it lay dormant in the Senate for three years before officially dying of neglect this summer when it dropped on the federal election. The private member’s bill was reintroduced by Joe Comartin, former New Democratic Party (NDP) legislator and a similar private member’s bill will be introduced by current NDP legislator Brian Masse at his earliest opportunity.

A Caesars Entertainment-operated casino is among Masse’s Windsor, Ontario constituency, and according to a CalvinAyre report Masse will work in conjunction with other parties to make sure that “everyone is comfortable” with the new legislation. The majority of Senate opposition to C-290 was based on the premise that the bill wasn’t sufficiently scrutinized before being rushed through the House of Commons. The new sports betting bill is likely to remain on the back burner for the Liberal Party which now enjoys a parliamentary majority.

Sport’s betting is currently restricted to provincial lottery corporations by Canada’s Criminal Code, and even they are limited to offering parlay wagers. The Code would have been amended by C-290 allowing provinces to decide whether to allow single-game sports betting in their own areas. It was believed by Comartin that if Caesars Windsor was allowed to open sportsbook cross-border traffic from neighboring Detroit would increase. However, if New Jersey succeeds in getting US federal prohibition on sports betting overturned, Michigan may be able to open its own sports books. So while Canadians may benefit from Masse’s efforts in the long run, the gains for Windsor could be limited.

Canada’s four maritime provinces are represented by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation which in July 2014 announced it wanted to follow the lead of Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba and possibly Alberta, and launch an online gambling service. However, according to the minister responsible for the Gaming Control Act in Nova Scotia, Michel Samson, the province will need to know how frequently and how many of its residents participate in casino-style games in addition to online poker. According to Sampson the survey would help the province determine whether online gambling presents issues that could possibly warrant government intervention.

New sports betting legislation for Canada