If approved, C-221 would allow individual provinces to offer single game sports betting to their residents. Under current Canadian law, only multi-game parlay wagers are legal in the country.
Brian Masse, the bill’s sponsor, says that Canadians are already wagering on illegal offshore sites and that legalization would generate badly needed revenue for government agencies. In a statement to Parliament he summed up his arguments as follows:
Most important, it would take away $ 14 billion of money to organized crime and unregulated offshore betting taking place right now in a market that induces our youth. The money it supplies to organized crime can be rerouted to public infrastructure, health care, education, gaming addiction, and a number of different priorities that Canadians want.
The bill’s opponents, however, suggest that single game wagering would open up opportunities for game-fixing.
Sean Casey, Liberal MP for Charlottetown and the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice and attorney general said legal gambling would also be a burden on the poor:
…statistics indicate that the cohort of Canadians in the lower income bracket who gamble are the most vulnerable for experiencing problem gambling issues. Opposing this bill means protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
Casey’s Liberals seem to have the upper hand in this particular argument. Support for the bill fizzled after a second reading earlier this week and while the bill will likely die in committee.
Undaunted, Masse says he’ll introduce the bill again next year.
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