Canada's single event sports betting bill which has been in the news quite a lot in recent months is now to receive its second reading of three this week and will also be debated in parliament.
At present, Canadians are permitted to make parlay wagers only when it comes to sports betting with regulated provincial operators. This makes it difficult for them to win anything. All other sports betting such as single events betting is illegal in Canada, although many Canadian residents use international sportsbooks which is not illegal should they wish to partake in single events betting.
This of course is where the problem lies for provincial lottery operators, who feel they are losing out big time to these unregulated markets. The Canadian Gaming Association estimates that Canadians wager $450 million a year on legal parlay bets while a massive $10 billion is spent at offshore online gambling sites.
This $10 million could be extra revenue that the state could use and channel into schools and hospitals. It could also be used to fund problem gambling programs, says New Democratic Party MP for Windsor West Brian Masse. Masse is the sponsor of the single-event betting private members' bill.
Politicians in Quebec are looking to solve this problem by creating a "firewall" around their province and passing a law that will see internet service providers being forced to block residents' access to illegal sites. Masse however has come up with a far more feasible solution and that is to let people wager on single events.
This may sound familiar and that is because Masse has resurrected the idea from the previous C-290 bill that was caught up in the senate from 2012. Masse's bill C-221 is an almost carbon copy of the earlier bill, C-290 that was presented by now-retired NDP MP Joe Comartin. The C-290 bill sailed through the House and was about to become law in 2013 when it was stalled in the Senate and then shelved when the most recent general election was called.
The new C-221 bill would see the Criminal Code being amended by repealing the current wagering restrictions, allowing provinces to decide whether or not they wish to adopt single-event sports betting on an individual basis. All such bets would be monitored by the Canadian Gaming Association.
When speaking about the bill last July, Comartin said, "It's a great method to fight organized crime. It's just a great tool to take away a huge chunk of money from that type of criminal activity." He also called it "a job creation tool, not just for this community but for a number of communities across the country."
Bill C-221 has a great deal of support in the Canadian House of Commons but has faced recent criticism from the NHL. They recently reaffirmed their opposition to regulated sports betting with reference to the bill. The league currently has eight Canadian franchises.
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