Bill C-290 Canadian Sports Betting Legislation

Canada is one step closer to totally legalizing "single-game" sports wagering. Known as bill C-290 and it has successfully passed its third reading in the House of Commons, leaving only a Senatorial rubber stamp to bring the much-debated single-game sports bets into Canadian law.

  • This makes the bill legal and will amend the Canadian criminal code and allow each Canadian province to decide whether they would like to offer it to their residents. But, this would have to happen through each of the provincial gaming entities, like for example: in British Columbia.
  • Each province has their own individual provincially run gaming brand and now single-game bets would be accepted on both a provincial and federal level. Currently, as the Canadian law stands now, bettors can place parlay wagers that do not involve more than three games.
  • Over quite a long period of time, it has been The New Democratic Party MP Joe Comartin's political persuasion efforts to bring single-game to Canadian bettors. Back in March of this year, Canada's House of Commons finally approved it in a quick 20 minutes session after its third reading.
  • Now the bill will make it's way to the Senate where it might come up against some serious opposition. Historically, a private member's bills like Cormartins are notoriously difficult to pass, with only a couple hundred similar proposals being accepted with a Senate stamp of approval over the past century.
  • But Cormartin's riding is in the province of Ontario where there are lots of casinos, all of which have been struggling financially lately and they all would surely like to see this bill pass. For example, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation CEO Rod Phillips acknowledged that while "there are still important details to work out, and this would represent good news."
  • There has been lots of opposition to bill C-290 in the House of Commons, both the Senate and from the major sports leagues including the NHL, NFL, and MLB. All of these organizations have formally contacted the members of parliament hoping to convince them of derailing this legal sports gambling bill.
  • Also, the Conservatives now hold a strong majority in the Senate and it sounds like there are rumblings in the House of Commons that Senate members will be out to veto this bill to show there distaste for anything close to legalizing "single-bet" sports betting.
  • Then there are some members in the house that are retired NHL coaches and staff including Jacques Demers, a former head coach of the NHL's Montreal Canadians who is a current Tory senator. He has has gone on record with his opposition to C-290, saying there were "times you have to vote for what is the right thing and that's what I want to do in this case."
  • In all the debates and politicking around this bill, there emerged an outstanding speech prepared by Hon. Sen. Bob Runciman who is in favor of the bill passing.
  • Some of the highlights are good arguments for it, like if they do not pass the bill, sports betting will remain in the hands of offshore gambling sites and stay inside organized crime. He also questioned the submissions by the sports leagues against the bill informing members that its sounds and looks like it was written by one person who seemed to think it would ruin the social fabric and threaten the integrity of major sports.
  • He countered this argument citing several incidents throughout history where several popular professional athletes and individuals like Pete Rose and Rick Tocchet are known sports betting gamblers. Furthermore, has signed a long-term advertising contract with the Edmonton Oilers hockey team to place ads all over the rink with consistent campaigns.
  • So for those who are against this bill, there seems to be a good argument for it, and that Canada would be hypocritical to be against it.
  • We will have to see once the Senate votes on the bill when it comes up for debate this year or early next, and whether they make it a law or it gets vetoed.
  • Either way, gambling has taken center stage in both the US and Canada as they have both become emerging markets for the online gaming industry.