Bill C290 languishes due to Senate inaction; cities still unable to capture Super Bowl revenue

TORONTO, ON, JANUARY 30, 2014 – Due to the Senate’s failure to act on Bill C290, an amendment to the Criminal Code to permit single-event sports wagering, $26 billion has been put in the hands of illegal gaming operators since the Bill entered the Senate in March 2012. Another Super Bowl will come and go while the Senators ignore the issue before them: that Canadians continue to place wagers through offshore sports books and illegal bookmakers because they don’t have access to a safe and regulated option.

“I can’t believe that we are a year down the road and there has been no progress on Bill C290” said Bill Rutsey, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA). “As I’ve warned before, inaction by the Senators only serves to fuel organized crime and offshore bookmakers, because they are the ones who profit from unlawful single-event wagering”.

Super Bowl is a busy weekend for places like Las Vegas. Bettors flock to the city and casinos will welcome more than 200,000 extra visitors. While total wagering on the game will be around $90 million, those extra visitors are expected to generate an additional $150 million in economic activity in just one weekend.

In Canada, these economic benefits could also accrue for cities like Vancouver, Niagara Falls, and Windsor, if on a smaller scale. By offering legal single-event sports wagering, lottery corporations would once again possess a distinctive competitive advantage over American casinos, as well as generate jobs and other remunerations.

Bill C290 is a simple amendment to the Criminal Code to permit wagering on the outcome of single sporting events. Canadians are currently only permitted to make parlay bets (wagering on the outcome of three or more events) which is an unpopular choice for many people. Canada’s sports betting legislation dates back to the 1960s and has not been updated to reflect current technologies or preferences.

“Consumers have made it clear that they prefer single-event betting as they’ve wagered $14 billion annually through illegal means compared with $500 million through legal parlay bets,” stated Mr. Rutsey. “If you want to bet on the outcome of the Super Bowl, why do you also have to throw in an NHL game and a Premier League Football match?  At this point, the Red Chamber is rolling out the red carpet for illegal bookmakers.”

The CGA also launched, a website developed specifically to address the debate regarding Bill C290 which features a counter that captures the amount of money illegally leaving the country.

“This is another lost opportunity for Canadians,” concluded Mr. Rutsey. “Bill C290 has the full support of the provinces and will give lottery corporations the tools to offer single event sports wagering in a safe and lawful manner, create jobs, help the economy, and fight criminal activity. We’re not giving up until the Senate does the right thing and passes the Bill.”

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Labour Congress, and nine provincial governments support Bill C290.


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 and find more about the CGA.

For further information please contact:

Paul Burns, Canadian Gaming Association, (416) 579-3922

[email protected]