Canada Senate Once Again Freezes Sports Betting Bill C290 

Written By Janice Doughtrey

Bill C290, the legislation sponsored by Opposition Senator Bob Runciman, in order to see single sports betting activities legalized in Canada, is not likely to make progress this year. The Conservative Canadian Senator expressed his frustration to news sources, by saying that opposition coming from inside all parties is causing the bill to languish in the upper chamber once again. As the Senator sees it, time is already running out for its approval.

Senator Runciman’s latest pronouncement is the exact opposite of the optimism he voiced earlier this year about Bill C290 finally getting its day on the Senate floor. Due to continuing lack of developments, the Senator said he will be surprised if it makes any progress at all this year. He said that the strongest opposition is coming from the Conservative Party. As it is, the legislation introduced by NDP Representative Joe Comartin and approved by the Lower House in 2012, is yet to be referred to a Senate Committee for review.

However, with the upcoming federal election and other government matters still requiring the Senate’s attention, Senator Runciman said that the chances of Canadians being permitted to place bets on single sports matches is, in all probability, not in the cards. The bill though, if given attention by a Senate Committee, would only take a day to tackle.

Supporters of the bill are upset about the Senate’s continuing indifference to the widely supported legislation. NDP Member of Parliament for Windsor Brian Masse, expressed his disappoint over the Senate’s deliberate inaction for the legislation, considering Bill C290 received the unanimous approval of the House of Commons. According to MP Masse, this merely emphasizes the archaic nature of the Senate and its total contempt for elected people.

He also asserts that by not passing the bill, organized crime continues to benefit from the unceasing illegal gambling activities that take place in bars, in basements, at backstreets and via disreputable Internet betting sites.

Vern White, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer and Ottawa Chief of Police, who is now a Conservative Senator, voiced his opposition to Bill C290. He stated that it is simply not a main concern of the Senate. He remains convinced that the private bill would not actually pass the Upper House because it has no solid support.

The former Ottawa Chief of Police says that more gambling is one thing that Canada does not need, adding that MP Masse’s logic does not make sense. He cites the State of Nevada as being the only U.S. state that allows betting on single sports events, which only indicates that single sports betting is not a great idea. According to Senator White, to follow the NDP MP’s line of thinking would mean legalizing heroin and cocaine as well.

Sportsbetting in Canada is legal but only for parlays or pool betting systems, betting activities that entail placing bets on a set of sporting outcomes, all of which must become actual results in order to win. The still languishing Bill C290 proposes to amend that section of Canadian Criminal Code that makes placing bets on a single sports game unlawful.