Update on Justice Committee Hearings

Bill C-218 was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights by an overwhelming vote of 303-15. The first two days of hearings took place on February 23 and 25 and committee members heard from several witnesses including CGA President & CEO Paul Burns, Responsible Gambling Council CEO Shelley White, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority President & CEO Zane Hansen, and UNIFOR President Jerry Dias.

All witnesses emphasized the need for regulation of single-event sports betting.

Additional Hearings

Additional hearing days are set for March 9 and 11. Stakeholders have the opportunity to submit written letters or briefs and details are available below.

Excerpts From Industry Testimony

Mr. Burns:

It is only through the regulation of this activity that we can bring it out of the shadows, where it currently operates, and into the light, where we can ensure that proper player protections are available and enforced. 

In closing, the sentiments by all stakeholders is this legislation is long overdue. Only by regulating single-sports betting can we be sure players are protected, funds are returned to the provinces in which they’re generated, and Canadian businesses have an opportunity to grow and renew their revenue streams.

Ms. White:

RGC believes it’s in the best interest of Canadians and Canadian society as a whole that Bill C‑218 should be passed. 

The good news is that we don’t need to recreate the wheel. Most of the standards already exist and are in place in land-based gambling, and we also have the benefit of lessons learned from other jurisdictions.

Mr. Hansen:

[Regulated single-event sports betting] also protects the interests of our customers. As regulated operators, we make sure our customers are well-informed on the games we provide and the integrity of the game is preserved. So, as legal operators we are held to high standards of accountability in areas such as industry regulation, responsible gaming and processing of financial transactions. I think it would improve that whole area.

Mr. Dias:

In other words, in reality, Bill C-218 isn’t about bringing single-game sports betting to Canada. It’s about creating a legal framework that will establish a legal and regulated and sports betting market in Canada, which would in turn increase consumer protections, help support responsible gaming measures, and protect the integrity of the sports themselves.

It goes without saying that revenues generated in illicit, illegal, underground black market gaming operations does nothing to contribute to good jobs for workers in Canada. 

Full copies of remarks made by Mr. Burns and Ms. White are available.

How to Submit Letters & Briefs 

To submit letters or briefs to the Committee please refer to the Guide for Submitting Briefs to House of Commons Committees.

Contact information for the Clerk of the Justice Committee:

The deadline for submitting a written submission on C-218 to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights is March 11, 2021 at 4:00pm ET.