Updated: Fri, 23 Nov 2012 10:21:21 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

N.L. Senator speaks out against gambling bill



N.L. Senator speaks out against gambling bill

Newfoundland and Labrador Conservative Senator Norm Doyle is speaking out against a new bill on gambling which has been already passed by the House of Commons.

Bill C-290, which has already been passed by Parliament, was introduced by NDP MP Joe Comartin in Nov. 2011 as a private members' bill. The bill would allow for betting on single sports events, but it still needs Senate approval to become law.

Currently, gamblers must wager on the results of at least two games or events in one bet, although some provinces have a minimum of three games. The new law would allow people to bet on single events.

Pro sports, addictions experts consulted

Doyle said professional sports leagues are against it because of potential game-fixing.

Doyle added that gambling has had a very high social cost. "We have roughly about 200 gambling-related suicides in Canada each year, and that leaves a string of broken homes and broken families and damaged children," said Doyle.

Doyle said the Senate spoke to representatives of professional sports leagues, and mental health and addictions professionals on the implications of the bill.

"It's a very bad bill socially and it's very bad public policy as well," stated Doyle. "We've determined that with the witnesses that came in," he said.

Bill could be voted down

Doyle added that there are signs that there could be enough votes in the Senate to kill the bill.

Doyle acknowledged it was unusual for Senate members to make efforts to kill a bill once it passed through Parliament.

However, Doyle said he was not worried that his stand on the bill could affect his relationship with Parliament or Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who appointed Doyle to his current position.

"You have a responsibility to look at it [the bill] and vote against it if you deem it to be necessary," said Doyle.

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