Senate preps for betting bill debate

At the moment, Canadian sports bettors have to gamble on multiple games in order to purchase a...

At the moment, Canadian sports bettors have to gamble on multiple games in order to purchase a ticket.

Jessica Murphy, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:58 PM ET

OTTAWA – The Senate is preparing to debate a single-game betting bill that passed with little scrutiny in the House of Commons.

Liberal Sen. George Baker, the critic for Bill C-290, said Monday he expects the legislation to die in the Senate following debate this week.

Like many senators and a number of MPs, Baker flagged the way the bill passed with unanimous consent in the House earlier this year – with just under an hour of scrutiny in committee and testimony from a sole witness, the Canadian Gaming Association.

It then passed with unanimous all-party support on a Friday afternoon when many MPs had left for their ridings.

“The legislative function in the House of Commons is in omni shambles,” he said, noting none of the bill's opponents – from pro and amateur sports leagues to gambling addiction specialists – were given the opportunity to voice their concerns to MPs.

“The bill is dead in the water.”

The private member's bill would allow Canadians to wager on single event sports games. As it stands, Canadians can bet only on two or three - or more - at a time depending on where they live. It would be up to the provinces to regulate how that is managed within their jurisdictions.

Tory Sen. Bob Runciman admits that how the bill passed in the House deserves legitimate criticism but thinks the bill could still stand on its merits after senators take a closer look at the legislation.

“I haven't given up the ghost yet,” he said.


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