According to an update from Legal Sports Report, the proposed measure is known as C-221 and would alter current rules so that punters could place bets on individual sporting or athletic events in addition to the already permitted parlay wagers. Also called the Safe And Regulated Sports Betting Act, the legislation was introduced earlier this year as a private members bill by Brian Masse from the New Democratic Party, who serves as a federal MP for Ontario’s Windsor West constituency and the area around Caesars Windsor Casino.
Legislative sources have reportedly revealed that the future of the proposed legislation will be clearer in two week’s time after the House Of Commons in Ottawa determines whether to reject the bill or send it to its Justice And Human Rights Committee for further deliberation. Referral would see C-221 stand a good chance of passing on to the Senate for a vote while a veto would effectively kill the matter until at least 2021.
“This enactment repeals paragraph 207(4)(b) of the criminal code to make it lawful for the government of a province or a person or entity licensed by the lieutenant governor in council of that province to conduct and manage a lottery scheme in the province that involves betting on a race or fight or on a single sport event or athletic contest,” reads a summary of C-221.
Masse’s measure is almost identical to a previous proposal known as C-290, which failed to gain enough support in the Senate despite easily progressing through the lower House Of Commons in 2011. Introduced by former Windsor-Tecumseh MP Joe Comartin, who was also a member of the New Democratic Party, this preceding effort was officially axed in 2015 after then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper dissolved parliament and called for a general election.
Legal Sports Report noted that C-221 has already undergone two periods of discussion in the House Of Commons with the most recent of these coming in June. Tracey Ramsey, who serves as MP for southern Ontario’s Essex constituency, declared that Canadians “have spent around $500 million annually betting on sports legally” over the past decade and argued that passing Masse’s proposal would benefit regional tourism industries. She was joined in her support by fellow New Democratic Party member Kennedy Stewart, the national representative for British Columbia’s Burnaby South district in metropolitan Vancouver, who argued that single-game sportsbetting already occurs so consequently passing the Safe And Regulated Sports Betting Act would bring the activity into the light and allow for greater transparency.
Multiple officials from the New Democratic Party have cited estimates that put Canada’s annual illegal sportsbetting handle at between $14 billion and $15 billion, which is approximately 10% of the American Gaming Association’s approximation for the illicit industry in the United States, while Masse himself has declared that passing his measure would create jobs and help to divert money away from organized crime syndicates.