The Canadian Gaming Association has moved forward and decided to place a counter on the C290NOW.ca web site where people can now see how much money Canadians will be wagering at offshore online sports betting sites. The Bill C-290 originally entered the Canadian Senate on March 2012 and has been in debate ever since. Meanwhile, the CGA is claiming that the ticker will reveal and keep counting how much money will continue to be lost elsewhere. Right now the ticker is around the $18 billion mark and still going up to this day.
The Bill C-290 is specifically made to amend the criminal code on sports betting in Canada. And now the provincial lottery corporations have recently joined up in Montreal at the Canadian Gaming Summit and are urging the Senate to move on this bill so that all those betting dollars will stay in the country. "Bill C290 has been in the Senate of Canada for 469 days and during this extended period of time, Canadians have gambled nearly $18 billion through illegal offshore online sports books or local bookmaking operations controlled by organized crime," said Bill Rutsey, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association. "Canadians clearly want a legal alternative. By not passing Bill C290, the Senate is preserving the status quo - essentially forcing Canadians to turn to unregulated Internet sites and criminals. Why some Senators are opposed to regulating this activity is baffling."
At this point in time Canadians can legally bet on sports but are limited to betting on parlay events which means that can wager only on the outcome of 3 or more events. C290 will allow provincial lottery companies that offer sports wagering to permit wagering on a single sporting event. So, Canadians will be able to bet on the Montreal and Toronto hockey game and not worry about additional games to bet on just to satisfy the countries laws. It’s estimated that Canadians wager about $450 million annually on parlay bets and place the bets on provincially owned gaming sites like Playnow.com, which is owned and operated by the BC government. The CGA claims that people who bet at these offshore gaming operations are being cheated, as they are not safe or regulated.
If consumers can bet at the provincial sites they would be betting in a safe and secure environment. Not only that but national surveys say that 64% of Canadians want the Senate to pass Bill C290. Originally, the act to amend the Criminal Code was introduced into the House of Commons on September 28th 2011 and then on November 2011 it was debated at a second reading. Then after several lengthy debates a third reading took place on March 2, 2012 and at that time it passed and then was sent to the Senate for review. After that it was sent for a second reading by the Standard Committee on Legal and Constitutional affairs on May 16th, 2012. It’s the provincial governments that are running their own gaming sites that really want this to pass as they feel it would create lots of full time jobs and generate millions in tax revenue, let alone give back to the communities where the dollars are needed most.
"I fully support Bill C290 because Canadians should be allowed to make fair wagers in safe, secure, and regulated environments," said Michael Graydon, President and CEO, British Columbia Lottery Corporation. "Canadian lottery jurisdictions need a level playing field. We need the opportunity to protect our players and ensure the hundreds of millions of dollars currently heading offshore stays in Canada to the benefit of our communities."
At this point in time there are a total of eight provinces that support the Bill C290 in addition to several mayors, economic development committees and provincial gaming regulators are all urging the senate to vote it in to law.
The Canadian Gaming Association is a complete set of members of established gaming operators, suppliers and gaming equipment manufacturers in Canada and they all have an interest in this bill passing. They have been watching and pushing this to move forward with every allowable influence they have in government.
Online gaming in Canada in of itself has taken a different direction than its US neighbor counterpart by allowing the provinces to offer everything from sports betting, poker, lotteries and casinos to residents. What makes them different is that the provinces are running their own sites as opposed to the US where they have licensed private companies including, both US and European to apply for licenses such as in Nevada.
Furthermore, because of the 1961 Wire Act in the US, you won’t be seeing any online sports betting being accepted by the federal government anytime soon. Sporting organizations are of course against any type of law like this and the same goes for sports organizations in Canada. They have fought against Bill C290 as well. But the fact remains the same, either way you look at it the ticker on C290Now.ca will keep going up until the Senate signs it into law. Then at that time the sports betting dollars will stay in Canada.