Law Legalizing Sports Betting in Canada on Life Support

A law that would allow single game sports betting in Canada does not appear likely to be revived in the Canadian Senate (l.), where it has languished for three years since being approved by the House of Commons.

A bill passed three years ago by the Canadian House of Commons that would legalize single game sports betting appears likely to die in the Senate.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ruling Conservative party appears to be listening to those who warn of the possibility of game fixing and problem gambling. If the Senate does not revive the bill it will die.

Sports betting is an estimated $11.2 billion industry in Canada. Currently multiple game wagers are allowed. The bill would give individual provinces the option of legalizing the practice.

National elections will be held October 19, after which time it is possible that the issue will be revived.

Most U.S. states bar the practice, except for Nevada and a handful of others. Some Canadian lawmakers see an opportunity for their country to step into the breech and attract visitors who want to sports bet.

The Canadian Gaming Association has estimated that an underground market of about $4 billion for single game betting exists.

The National Football League, NBA, National Hockey League and other sports federations heavily oppose the bill. Some have raised the specter of a game-fixing potential like the one that blackened the name of baseball in the United States during the Black Sox scandal of 1919.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce supports the bill. Some cities that already have casinos, such as Windsor, Ontario, would be able to hire more employees if the practice is allowed.

Senator Vern White, who opposes the bill, told Bloomberg, “I don’t see the positive side that comes out of casinos, but I do see the negative.”