The seemingly endless debate on single sports betting in Canada could be resolved later this month when parliament gets back to work, with a private member’s bill again on the agenda in the Commons and calls for prime minister Justin Trudeau to permit a free vote on the issue.
The Canadian Criminal Code at present only allows wagering on two or more sporting events at a time, stopping punters from laying a bet on just one event or outcome – the most popular way to bet on sports.
There is a groundswell of opinion in the nation’s nine provinces that these restrictions should be lifted, but the ruling party has a history of opposing this, and previous attempts to bring in the single sports betting concept have met with failure in the Senate, despite a positive vote in the Commons and widespread political and gambling industry support (see previous reports).
The bill was resurrected by a Windsor MP and recently sent to the Commons justice committee for research and consultation, but the Liberals continued to oppose the bill when the house rose for the summer break.
Since then there have been reports of some politicians in the ruling party lobbying for a free vote on the issue, supporting the single game betting proposal on grounds that there are economic benefits that such an amendment could bring to Canada’s border casinos, giving them an advantage over their US rivals and generating more jobs and taxes.
They also point to the desirability of having regulated activity which protects gamblers, who currently use a range of offshore online websites.