Canada’s single-event sports betting bill fails in Commons

23 September 2016

The Canadian House of Commons has voted against the legalisation of wagering on single-game sports events.

Bill C-221, the ‘Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act’, would have amended a section of Canada’s criminal code to enable provinces and territories across the country to allow such wagering.

However, at a second reading of the bill, the Commons voted 155-133 against the proposed legislation, meaning that these betting activities will remain outlawed in the country, despite many Canadians accessing such services illegally.

In response to the decision, the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) said that it was “disappointed” with the vote, adding that nationals wager C$14 billion (€9.6 billion/US$10.7 billion) on single-game sports each year, and the government will continue to lose out on potential tax revenue from this market.

Bill Rutsey, chief executive of the CGA, said: “I regret that I don't have better news for Canadians; those who understand what is at risk, and the benefits that could exist by implementing regulation, are frustrated and dissatisfied by the vote.

“The scales of justice are badly misaligned where this issue is concerned, and I remain baffled that the government of Canada can’t recognise it too.”

However, despite the Commons defeat, Rutsey said the CGA will continue to push the government to introduce legislation in order to help protect punters from the dangers posed by illegal wagering.

“The need for greater oversight and regulation has not diminished,” he said.

“The CGA looks forward to working with Members of Parliament to introduce the necessary legislative changes at the earliest opportunity, in order to thwart the illegal and unregulated sports betting market that continues unabated in this country.”

Related article: Canadian government to oppose single-event sports betting bill