Proposed federal legislation that would amend the national Criminal Code to legalize single-game sports wagering in Canada was shot down by the House of Commons on Wednesday night.
Known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, Bill C-221, which was introduced in February by New Democratic Party MP Brian Masse, was defeated soundly by a 156-133 margin. The defeat means that Canadians who want to gamble on sports will still have to bet on multiple sporting events to do so. The bill sought to do away with paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code which restricts provincial gambling monopolies from offering anything other than parlay sports wagers.
Masse told CBC News, “Tonight organized crime is celebrating and popping a cork,” adding, “And the Americans are laughing straight at us.” Masse, who serves as a federal MP for Ontario’s Windsor West constituency and the area around Caesars Windsor Casino, said that he’s disappointed by the decision and claims that single-game sports betting will grow in the country alongside organized crime, according to the news agency. He went on to say that the profits derived from legal gambling, estimated to be at least $10 billion annually, would have generated revenue for the Canadian government. Masse said that the money will instead be lost to organized crime, with $4 billion more lost to offshore betting.
Masse’s measure is identical to (C-290), which party leader voted in favor of in 2012. That bill, however, failed to gain the support needed in the Senate despite having easily navigated the lower House of Commons in 2011.
Members of the Liberal government, who voted the bill down failed to provide specific reasons, said Masse. He said that at the moment, federal Liberals aren’t supporting any private member’s bills. Masse won’t be able re-introduce C-221 now that it has been defeated and he would not say whether or not he planned to do so after the next election, if he is still a sitting MP, as reported by the news agency. The defeat means that it will be a while before the matter sees the light of day, as the Liberal majority headed by Justin Trudeau is only a year into its mandate. The veto effectively kills the matter until some time after the 43rd Canadian federal election, which is scheduled to take place on or before October 21, 2019.