The Canadian government, known as Parliament, is looking to pass an upcoming bill that would introduce and regulate sports betting across the country. Brian Masse, a Windsor West representative and active member of Parliament is reintroducing a single-event sports betting bill that was not cleared past the Canadian Senate in June of last year. According to Masse, the bill would help the Canadian economy, provide jobs, and keep money out of the hands of organized crime. This reintroduction will mark the fifth consecutive year that legislators have been pushing for gambling regulation as well as furthering the gambling industry in Canada. It may just be the year that a gambling bill is finally upheld due to far more support within Canada’s Government than there ever has been before.
The Gambling Bill
Bill C-290 was originally instated on October 10th, 2013, but has now resurfaced in the House of Commons and the Senate. Although gambling bills have faced an uphill battle in the past, this new and improved sports betting bill has been gaining popularity and attention as more and more legislators lend support for its new hearing. The bill will focus on amending Canada’s Criminal Code and aim to regulate single-event sports gambling. While gaining new sponsors such as Joe Comartin, Parliament representative of the Windsor-Tecumseh region, the bill is also pulling other politicians who see the economic benefits. Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce President, Matt Marchand expressed his confidence in the bill, stating, “We look forward to the bill being introduced by Brian. We fully anticipate the bill will pass and we expect the Senate will carry out the will of the House.”
A Bumpy Road
The reason for dismissal of Bill C-290 in the past was that the bill’s purpose did not hold consensus in the Canadian Senate. Canada’s representatives would not pass an Act to reform the Criminal Code unless the decision was supported by both the people and 3rd party organizations in the previous years leading to the revival of the bill.
A major factor that the legislators took into consideration when striking the bill down in the past is attributed to the National Basketball Association. The NBA was not on board with allowing Canadian citizens to place single event wagers on professional basketball games. ESPN later came out with a full report claiming that the NBA opposition to Canadian sports betting put the bill “on life support.”The NBA’s position on the matter has since changed, and is expressed in it’s most recent statement toward Canada’s reintroduction of sports betting. It is not a surprise that the NBA is now in favor of sports betting, as the current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is a proponent of eventually bringing sports betting back to the US.
NBA's Address to the Canadian Senate
“Consistent with the NBA’s current position regarding legalized sports betting in the United States, the NBA is no longer opposed to legalized sports betting in Canada so long as there is an appropriate legislative framework that protects the integrity of the game under strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards. These would include, at a minimum, mandatory monitoring and reporting of unusual betting line movements; a licensing protocol for betting operators; minimum-age verification measures; geo-blocking technology to ensure betting is available only where it is legal; mechanisms to identify and exclude people with gambling problems; and education about responsible gaming.”
The Future of Sports Betting
Due to single-event sports betting being on the verge of a revival in Canada, many are asking if the United States will follow its neighbor's path. However, when comparing to the two countries differing governmental policies, the United States has a more state-dependent legislature that takes precedence over federal laws. This state-given authority operates under a current federal ban for online sports betting but has the power to allow the gambling option to be reviewed and ruled upon by an array of lawmakers. As for Canada, the governing Parliament which includes the Senate will make a nation-wide decision on the sports betting matter rather than giving power to each province or region, making sports gambling regulation in Canada far easier than in the United States.
Current US professional sports league commissioners such Major League Baseball’s Rob Manfred promotes the idea of further betting regulation. However, Manfred and other sports agents admit it will take a lot to lift the opposition presently impeding the gambling option. Decisions will have to pass through state legislative systems before a federal amendment can be made.
At the moment, Nevada stands alone as the only state in the Union to allow single-event sports betting with New Jersey on the cusp to do the same. Federal action in the United States is a long way from nationwide legalization.
It seems there is a good chance that single-event sports betting will eventually become legalized in Canada and become a positive boost to the national economy. The need for regulation and growth in the industry will produce more jobs, establish scholarships and government funding, and keep the prominent industry of illegal sports betting out of the Country.