Larry Smith to Take Part in Bill C-218 Senate Report

This week Canada’s Senate standing committee on banking, trade, and commerce is set to perform a thorough review on Bill C-218. The committee then must write a report on the legislation and return it to the Senate for a final review. Former CFL Commissioner Larry Smith will be taking part in the report as he is a member of the standing committee.

Bill C-218 was introduced by Saskatchewan Conservative MP Kevin Waugh and it is a private member’s bill that aims to legalize individual sports betting in Canada. The legislation would amend the country’s Criminal Code and finally allow such regulated betting opportunities. The proposed legislation has accumulated plenty of support in the country and it is believed it would revolutionize the country’s gambling scene.

Report Due This Week

As expected this week Senators will hold a hearing and watch presentations by those who back and from those who are against single-event introduction. The report will be then sent back to the Senate for a final third reading, and if passed it will be transferred to Chief Justice of Canada Richard Wagner, who is taking over the Governor-General position after the resignation of Julie Payette.

Mr. Smith believes that the bill can be passed in time, however, it will be very difficult as currently there are other legislations that await their review from the Senate. He explained that if the Senate passes the vote for the bill, it will be sent back to the House of Commons. But if the House of Commons is in recess then the bill will be doomed to start all over.

The former CFL Commissioner also added that as a Senate their task is similar to a quality-control institution. He stated the Senate must thoroughly analyze Bill C-218 and if needed make some amendments to it to come as a finished product in its best possible state in order to be ready for Canadians.

Mr. Smith has also acknowledged the financial difficulties of the football league. He admitted that the league does not have the same backing from television revenue in comparison to other major sporting institutions. He believes that the revenue from single-sports betting must be used to support the football league, but it must also finance community and minor sports development.

Waugh’s Stance

Senator Waugh also believes that the legislation could be passed on time, but everything is in the hands of the Senate. He also agreed that the bill could be able to help with the CFL’s unfortunate financial condition. Last year the league did not play due to the occurrence of the unprecedented situation, and according to an unknown source, the league has lost from CA$60 to CA$80 million in revenue numbers.

Increasing Support

After previously opposing the introduction of Bill C-218, Saskatchewan senator Brent Cotter has now voiced his backing for the proposed legislation. He stated that as long as the vast majority of sporting institutions support the change, then this must be enough of a statement for the bill and its purposes. He believes that the bill has a big chance of passing and it single-sports betting can be regulated in a safe and responsible way.

Source: “Former CFL commissioner Smith on Senate committee that will do report on sports gambling bill”, CBC, June 1, 2021

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