Former CFL Commissioner Smith Among Senate’s Members Reviewing Bill C-218

Larry Smith, a former commissioner of the Canadian Football League and a current part of the Senate’s banking committee, will be a part of the people reviewing bill C-218. Bill C-218 is a private member’s bill that Kevin Waugh, a Conservative from Saskatchewan, pitched and pushes for the potential legalization of single-game sports betting, currently illegal in Canada.

The Future of Betting in Canada

Betting isn’t entirely forbidden in Canada, with parlays being legal. However, parlays consist of several wagers that must be all correct and are different in nature from single-game betting.

The proposed bill is assessed by the committee this week, where the senators can hear the arguments of both the people who support the idea and those who oppose it. Following that, a report will be made and sent to the Senate for additional reviewing. If it passes that as well, it will go in the hands of Richard Wagner, the Chief Justice of Canada, for a final evaluation.

Smith is no stranger to dealing with cases focusing on the legality of sports wagering. Back in 2015, the New Democratic Party’s legislation received unanimous support from the House of Commons, but it never made it past the Senate. Then, in 2016, Brian Masse from the NDP launched another private member’s bill that is yet to pass through the House of Commons.

However, Smith is sure that today is different, and the current bill has much more momentum. He believes that society as a whole has become welcoming to the idea of sports gambling. Smith emphasizes that if gambling becomes legalized, it is crucial to establish a proper and working system. If C-218 comes into power and single-game wagers become legalized, regulative organs should adapt accordingly.

Bill C-218 May Mend the CFL that Waned During the Pandemic

The push is now to get the bill to pass before the annual summer break of the Senate and House of Commons. Otherwise, C-218 will likely be forgotten with Canadian elections coming in the autumn. Smith believes that it can be done but may prove arduous as there is a long queue of bills to manage.

According to Smith, it’s the Senate’s job is to serve as “quality control” of the legislation and to ensure the “finished product is the best possible product for Canadians.” He is ready to make changes as long as he believes them to be in the people’s best interest.

With the COVID-19 pandemic at hand, the CFL couldn’t host any games the previous year and lost about $60-$80 million in turn, according to an anonymous source. And gambling may be the solution.

As a former CFL commissioner (1992-1997), Smith realizes the need to boost the league’s business. He is cautious but optimistic that betting can potentially benefit the CFL. Smith concluded that if single-game betting becomes a reality, the funds received should be carefully used not only in the leagues themselves but for the betterment of the community as a whole.

Illegal gambling is a global problem. In Canada, it has grown to be a multi-billion industry. The implementation of regulated single-game betting may greatly benefit the leagues.