Bill C-218 has just passed its second reading at the Canadian Senate, if fully legalized the bill would amend the Criminal Law in the country, thus seeing the introduction of single-event wagering. Most recently Saskatchewan senator Brent Cotter has had a sudden change of heart on the matter as the independent senator was previously against its introduction.
The bill was officially introduced by Saskatchewan Conservative MP Kevin Waugh and will allow Canadian gambling and sports fans to place bets on a single sporting event. The change of gaming law has been a majorly anticipated one, as currently, Canadians have to rely on parlay betting when wagering on their favorite team or preferred game.
A Change for the Better
Recently, Mr. Cotter has stated that he will be supporting the bill, as many professional sports leagues are backing the proposal; it means that it is of some value for them. He continued by saying that as long as leagues see no problem with the bill, then we should be taking this as a powerful statement. He also stated that he is confident that single-sports betting can be regulated in a safe and responsible way.
After the second Senate successful reading, the Senate standing committee on banking, trade, and commerce will conduct a report on the legislation. After that, the bill will be sent back to the Senate for a third vote. However, the Senate has several other bills with a higher priority and if the bill isn’t passed by the start of the summer break, it could have to start over the whole process.
Mr. Cotter believes that the bill has more than the 50-50 chance of passing that was predicted by Senator Waugh earlier. Senator Cotter explained that the Senate committee is an honorable one, which conducts its business in a timely manner. He is aware that the Senate has other bills to review, but he still believes that the bill can be passed in time.
The senator also believes that the proposed officially regulated single-event betting by the Canadian provinces will not resolve gambling addiction problems, but it will certainly help. He explained that despite single-sport betting being lawfully regulated, some individuals will still experience compulsive gambling. However, he believes that it will happen significantly less thanks to the Crown corporations’ responsible gaming programs.
Similar to Senator Waugh, Senator Cotter also backed the idea, that Bill C-218 would benefit the Canadian Football League. Previously, Mr. Waugh explained that the struck-by-the-unprecedented-situation football league could use the money from the proposed legislation. The league did not play last season due to the restrictions and according to an anonymous source it had lost from CA$60 to CA$80 million in revenue.
Canadian Gaming Association’s Stance
The Canadian Gaming Association has also spoken up on the matter of single-event betting legalization. The association prompted the Senate to hurry up and focus its attention on Bill C-218 as its introduction cannot wait any longer. The organization has even started an online support initiative named #bettersportsbetting. The association is also worried that Canadians will continue to pour money into unregulated websites as land-based casinos remain closed.
Source: Ralph, Dan “Saskatchewan senator optimistic single-game sports betting bill will pass” CBC, May 26, 2021