Canada Begins Sports Betting Debate; No Vote Set

Canada sports betting is currently in limbo. There have been debates occurring, but nothing with any substance has happened from a legislative hearing. C-128 is the current sports wagering legislation being discussed. The third hearing for the bill took place on Thursday, with the fourth scheduled for Monday.

Recent Hearings

Canada FlagThe Senate started debating C-218, and the body was making progress on the bill. Although it’s back on the docket for Monday, but it’s not first on the list. Progress was being made on C-218 on Thursday, but quitting time caused a halt in discussions.

The same outcome will likely occur on Monday. The Senate must conduct government business before C-218 is discussed. Sports betting is not a topic that legislators usually agree to without negotiations.

This s proving to be the case in Canada. The Canadian Parliament’s legislative session concludes at the end of the week. Therefore, sports betting could be dead in the water due to the limited time.

Multiple topics in the bill were discussed on Thursday. If the legislation is passed, it will remove the Canadian Criminal Code that deals with single-game sports betting in the nation.

Canadian Criminal Code

C-218, which Senator David Wells sponsors, has received mixed opinions in parliament. If the bill were passed, it would allow Canadian provinces to legalize sports betting. This is a similar structure to the United States, where states were given the jurisdiction to offer betting after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was removed.  

Wells is aware that the legalization of sports betting does not mean it will sweep the nation. Although, removing the criminal penalty on sports betting will make provinces inclined to pass wagering.

Wells spoke about his bill last week amid debates.

“Provinces have been seeking this change for years and are ready to respond to it quickly and responsibly. While we can not dictate the regulatory practices of Canada’s provincial governments, what we can do is make this modification to one line of the Criminal Code, thereby empowering them to safely bring single-event sports betting within Canada.”

Gambling has been regulated at the provincial level since 1985. Sports betting would likely be well received by the provinces as the country still attempts to recover financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next Steps and Issues Moving Forward

If C-218 passes without any additional amendments, it will move to the Governor General for final approval. The Governor General can add amendments, and if this occurred, it would head back to the House of Commons for legalization.

There have been significant issues with tribal nations that operate gaming facilities in Canada. The tribes are worried that sports betting will turn people away from their facilities for wagering. Some tribes do not align with the Criminal Code or provincial agreement, meaning they offer sports betting currently.

There have been amendments proposed to recognize the tribal gaming facilities. These will be discussed on Monday when the legislative process resumes in the state. Time is running out for sports betting during the 2021 parliamentary session, with less than a week left to find common ground.

Alex Payton is a sports betting writer that has a wide range of experience in the industry. He covers plenty of topics and never misses the chance to take the Louisville Cardinals.

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