The Canadian Senate’s Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee has referred sports betting bill C-218 back to the Senate following two days of debate and testimonies. The Senate will now sit for a final reading of the bill before voting on approval.
If the Senate decides that further amendments are needed, the bill would need to return to the House of Commons for another vote before returning to the Senate once again. The House of Commons originally passed the bill earlier this year on April 22nd and any new amendments may require further debate. However, supporters of the bill hope that this is not the case as the bill will need to receive Royal Assent before lawmakers break for the summer on June 23rd.
If enacted, Bill C-218 will amend Canada’s Criminal Code to allow for the legalization of single-event sports betting.
The Senate Committee heard two days of testimonies on Wednesday and Friday of last week before going through the bill clause by clause. The witnesses included Paul Burns, President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, accompanied by Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner, Canadian Football League; Chief Gina Deer, Mohawk Council of Kahanwà:ke; Stewart Groumoutis, Director eGaming, British Columbia Lottery Corporation; Zane Hansen, President & CEO, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority; and Shelley White, CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council.
The bill was originally introduced by Saskatoon-Grasswood Conservative MP Kevin Waugh in 2020 who at the time said:
“It will also ensure that provincial governments have access to the tools necessary to properly regulate sports betting and implement consumer protection and problem gambling programs to protect Canadians.”
At the moment, Canadian gamblers can use international sportsbooks for single-event betting with the Canadian Gaming Association estimating that as much as $4B is spent annually on non-Canadian sports betting websites.