Although legislative efforts are underway to give Canadians the opportunity for single event sports wagering, the corresponding bill has been stuck in Senate for several months.
Although Canadian gambling laws leave it up to each province to regulate sports betting as they see fit, the country’s Criminal Code prevents them from going as far as allowing bets on ‘any race or fight, or on a single sports event or athletic contest’. Only parlay bets involving at least three events are legal.
Bill C-290 would remove this limitation, giving greater freedom to the provinces and their gambling authorities, who clearly welcome the move.
“I fully support Bill C-290 because Canadians should be allowed to make fair wagers in safe, secure and regulated environments,” says British Columbia Lottery Corporation CEO, Michael Graydon.
“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.”
Not only do the current laws limit high street and internet betting in Canada, it has also lead to the proliferation of criminal activity.
“Canadians clearly want a legal alternative. By not passing Bill C-290, the Senate is preserving the status quo, essentially forcing Canadians to turn to unregulated Internet sites and criminals,” claims Canadian Gaming Association CEO, Bill Rutsey.
Despite the high profile busts making their way into primetime Canada gambling news, and despite the support from provinces, various committees, regulators and local politicians, the Senate is yet to approve the measure.
“Bill C-290 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 sportsbooks or local bookmaking operations controlled by organised crime,” says Rutsey.