Canadians are eagerly monitoring the current gambling scenery in the country and how the events surrounding the future of Bill C-218 will unfold. The bill would allow sports and gambling fans to finally place bets on an individual sporting event, and many believe that it would revolutionize the country’s gambling scene. The bill has been officially introduced to the Senate last Friday.
The proposed gambling change has most recently passed a third shortened House of Commons vote. And prior to that the bill has been reviewed five times by the House Justice Committee and it has endured an amendment to exclude horse racing as a precautionary measure for the protection of the live harness sport.
Heading to the Senate
Conservative Sen. David Wells is the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, as the legislation was introduced in the Senate last Friday. The bill must first pass a vote in the chamber before reaching the committee, where amendments are usually suggested. But how quickly it would reach the committee stage depend on how many senators are willing to discuss it.
Mr. Wells stated that he reckons that the bill would not have an easy time getting processed through the Senate. He also explained that as a sponsor of the gambling change he will be making sure that all Senate members understand the bill and its ramifications if it is passed or not. He also insisted that the bill will not be rushed through the committee process by seeking the Senate’s unanimous approval.
The Conservative senator has also said that for the time being no senator has given his verdict on the matter. In addition to that, even if the bill is largely supported, efforts to pass it may be in vain if senators do not act in time and pass it during the seven sitting weeks this spring. This might lead to a major delay in the bill’s review as the country could hold elections before the senators are able to further review the matter in the fall.
Mr. Wells is concerned if the bill is not passed this spring it may have to wait until next year or the year after. In his words, that would be a huge opportunity missed for both the country and the gambling industry. He also stated that he agreed to sponsor the bill as it presents an opportunity to further improve the country’s gambling situation and allow Canada to compete with its US neighbors.
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation which is one of the biggest gambling regulators in the county has also declared its support for Bill C-218. The Crown corporation insisted that the change in gambling law will allow residents much bigger freedom in betting on sports events. On top of that, the Crown projects over CA$175 million can be generated for B.C. and which can later be used for local support and funding.
Alberta’s gaming regulator Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis has also joined in on the matter and voiced its backing for the bill. According to the Crown agency, this will further revolutionize the gambling industry in the country and will certainly help from keeping people off of the offshore and illegal wagering platforms. Canadian already pour millions of dollars into such websites where responsible gambling is not necessarily a top concern.
Source: Pinkerton, Charlie “Sports-betting bill starts race against time in the Senate”, iPolitics, May 3, 2021