Canada’s sports betting hearings threatened by Trudeau’s ’emergency recess’ 

Further frustrations appear on the legislative horizon for the Canadian sports betting marketplace, after the Liberal Party government prorogued Parliament until 23 September. 

The decision to recess Parliament and Commons presents a blow to the progress of Bill C-221, Canadian betting’s third attempt to implement a federal framework for ‘single sports wagering’.

Authored by long-term sports betting advocate Brian Masse, the representative for Windsor West Ontario, Bill C-221 was submitted to the Commons last February with sponsors urging MPs to back the latest mandate as Canadian sports landscape had been altered by US pro leagues allowing for regulated wagering.  

Introduced to Commons by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, Bill C-221 ‘The Safe & Regulated Sports Act’ was reported to be awaiting its secondary readings.

High expectations had been placed on Bill C-221 securing a 2020 passage, as this summer the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) ‘made a vital outreach’ to obtain support from US and Canadian pro sports leagues and franchisees in Canada to develop a federally approved sports betting framework.

Reacting to the closure of Parliament, Masse detailed his frustrations as Bill C-221 will face a new legislative agenda come September’s reopening.   

“We were promised in this past election that sports betting … would be an easy one to get done and here we are a year later, more problems, more delays,” he said.  

The governing Liberal Party’s decision to prorogue Parliament was met by an outcry from opposition, who accused the Party of purposely impeding an investigation into PM Justin Trudeau’s involvement with the scandal-ridden WE Charity over the misuse of its government-sanctioned $900 million student grants programme. 

The fallout of the WE Charity scandal saw Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau resign from PM Trudeau’s cabinet.

Responding to criticism, Trudeau promised that the Liberal Party will host a vote of confidence on his leadership this September. In his address closing Parliament, Trudeau underlined that the Liberal Party needed a new direction on its legislative agenda as Canada heads for its 2021 General Election.  

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