Sports Betting Legislation Stalls in Canadian Senate — Bill Progress Now Considered 50/50

by David Burke - Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 11:18

Canada’s latest efforts to allow wagering on single sporting events has hit a roadblock as Bill C-218 that was passed by the House of Commons in April, has stalled in the Canadian Senate.

Canada’s appointed senators have taken a much more active role in the approval of legislation in recent years and, despite the broad support for allowing single event betting from both sides of the House, have yet to ratify an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada.

Bill C-218 is a private member’s bill (PMB) and had faced some opposition from within the industry itself. The horse racing industry felt that single-event wagering could harm their funding while First Nation tribal groups argued that the bill failed to recognize their gaming rights.

Yet even so, many expected the senate to rubber stamp the legislation as a matter of course. However the bill’s author, conservative MP Kevin Waugh, has poured cold water on those hopes in a recent statement reported by CBC.

Waugh said:

“Am I confident? I’d say 50-50. It’s kind of out of my hands now.

Even though I got it through the House, it’s in the Senate and the Senate is a little bit different. They go to their own beat. Is it going to come out? Who knows, especially a backbencher’s PMB and a Conservative at that.”

And while no senator has spoken either in favor of or against the legislation, Senator David Wells did offer some hope for Canadian sports betting advocates stating:

“If we don’t pass it (this Spring) then we probably won’t be addressing this until next year, or the year after. And there’s an opportunity being missed; not just the economic opportunity but an opportunity to control and regulate gaming and gambling in Canada right now”

The bill is now set for a second reading in the senate this week which could see the legislation assigned to a committee who would then conduct a full review of the bill.

David Burke

Reporter covering all aspects of sports, poker, regulation, iGaming business and more.