TORONTO, April 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) is pleased that an amendment to permit single-event sports wagering begins debate today, April 19, 2016, in Parliament in the form of Bill C-221, The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act. Championed by Brian Masse, NDP MP for Windsor West, the bill will be debated for the first time in the House of Commons at 5:30pm.
 
The bill proposes allowing provinces and territories the option to allow wagering on "any race or fight, or on a single sports event or athletic contest." Currently, Canadians can only place wagers through a parlay bet, which means betting on and correctly predicting the outcome of at least two, and sometimes three, games in order to win.
 
Parlay sports betting has been legal for decades in Canada. However, bettors overwhelmingly prefer to wager on a single sporting event - spending more than $14 billion annually versus approximately $500 million on parlay bets. The majority of the revenue derived from single-event betting leaves the country or ends up in the hands of organized crime – to the detriment of Canadian communities.
 
Bill C-221 is identical to a previous bill introduced by retired NDP MP Joe Comartin in 2011. Bill C-290 passed in the House of Commons with all-party support and arrived in the Senate in March 2012, only to have the Senate fail to bring the bill to a vote. Bill C-290 officially died when the general election was called last year, leaving no choice but to have process start over.
 
"It's important to note that the measures Mr. Masse is introducing do not make it mandatory for provinces to implement single-event sports wagering," said Bill Rutsey, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association. "This is about providing a safe and legal option for Canadians who enjoy betting, and giving provinces the power to address important issues such as consumer protection, problem gambling treatment, law enforcement and attempts to fix the outcome of sporting events."

Of great importance is the chance to address the illegal and unregulated sports betting market that continues to thrive in this country. Provinces will finally have the tools to police the criminals and lessen the influence of organized crime. Canadians will be able to bet on the outcome of the NBA Playoffs, Super Bowl, or World Series safely and securely thanks to the oversight of a government regulator.

The original Bill C-290 had the full support of Premiers and provincial finance ministers, mayors, and communities, as well as the additional backing of nine provinces, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and the Canadian Labour Congress. Their support remains steadfast for the new Bill C-221 and Mr. Masse's efforts.
 
About the Canadian Gaming Association
The fundamental goal of the Canadian Gaming Association is to create balance in the public dialogue about gaming in Canada.
 
Our members are among the largest most established gaming operators, suppliers and gaming equipment manufacturers in Canada.
 
Our mandate is to create a better understanding of the gaming industry through education and advocacy. 
 
Visit our website at www.canadiangaming.ca and find more about the CGA.
 
For further information please contact:
 
Paul Burns, Canadian Gaming Association, (416) 579-3922
pburns@canadiangaming.ca