End Of Single Sports Betting In Canada

It was not the end expected by sports betting hopefuls when Brian Masse introduced C-221 early this year. They very much wanted single game sports betting to become a legal reality in Canada. However, the legislators voted down this private member's bill. The bill came up for a vote in the House of Commons last week. It was defeated on the floor of the House, with 153 members voting against the bill and 133 members for it.

The leadership of the Liberal party was in favour of the bill and voted as such. But there were several party members who were not happy with legalisation of betting on single sports. It was reported that one of the backbenchers in the Liberal party put pressure on party leaders to permit an open vote on this bill. Contrary to expectations this was approved. The cross voting by Liberal party members ultimately scuttled the bill. This was the same lobby that had voted against a similar bill in 2012 when the Liberal party was in opposition.

Bittle, who is an MP for a city close to the U.S border, was in favour of the legislation. US punters living close to the border could then conveniently cross over to place single bets on a multitude of sports. Note that all sports betting is illegal in the United States. Prior to the vote, Bittle was confident that he would be able generate bipartisan support based on the previous bill passing in the House, only to fail in the Senate. The promoter of the bill, Masse had also stated that there would be the required support for the bill. Even the provincial online gambling monopolies had expressed opposition to parlay-only betting. They face competition from offshore online sports betting providers that offer the complete range of sports betting odds. So there is an opportunity lost for Canadian bookmakers.

Experts feel that this defeat will bring to an end the efforts to legalise single game sports betting in Canada for a substantial amount of time. It is unlikely that any of the mainstream political parties will take up this issue in the near future. Even this year, the bill was taken up for discussion only because Masse won the lottery that governs which private bills will be allowed to be considered. Maybe in the next parliament some other private member wins the lottery and chooses to introduce a similar bill.

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