URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Senate Must Exercise Sober Second Thought on Sports-Betting Bill

14 Nov 2012 URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Senate Must Exercise Sober Second Thought on Sports-Betting Bill

In a troubling twist of process, Bill C-290, the sports-betting bill, has passed from the House of Commons into the Senate without a standing vote. This Bill seeks to legalize single-sport betting in Canada. For many reasons, including the inefficient use of government funds for revenue generation, the social ills it causes (including 200 suicides a year!), the undermining of the integrity of sport, and the dubious democratic process employed in this instance, we all need to urge the Senate to exercise their role as the Chamber of Sober Second Thought, and to stop the passage of Bill C-290. This is urgent – the Senate is almost done with the bill! We’ve made it easy to do. Just click on read more for a sample letter and the contact information for the Senators in your province. For more background, read this excellent op-ed by Member of Parliament Michael Chong as well as this article and letter to Ottawa City Council.

 Here is a sample letter that you can copy and paste into your email browser. We recommend that you edit the letter to make it as personal as possible. Then select the Senators that are in your province (see the list below) and copy their email addresses into your “to” field. Create your own subject line. Also, consider calling a few of them to chat directly about this issue and why it matters to you!

 

Sample letter:

Dear Honourable Senator,

I’ve just learned about Bill C-290 the sports-betting bill. After considering the evidence, I’m urging you, for the good of Canadians, to exercise your role in the Chamber of Sober Second Thought and to please vote against this bill!

Some people think that gambling is a purely private affair, and that if I don’t like gambling, I should just not gamble. Out of love for my neighbor, and for the sake of the well-being of this nation, I must speak. Consider the evidence:

       COST ON HEALTH: In terms of impact, there are many costs on health and wellness, including poor health or morbidity, stress, depression and anxiety, suicide or other premature mortality, substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs related to gambling), and …loss of value of time with family and friends.

       COST ON LIFE: “Gambling has the highest rate of suicide of any type of addiction.” (The Canada Safety Council has estimated that over 200 suicides a year are attributable to gambling-related problems!)

       COST ON FAMILY: In a study in Norway, family members of problem gamblers reported experiencing family conflict at a percentage rate more than 50 times higher than the general population.

       COST ON VULNERABLE GROUPS: “Problem gambling is recognized as an impulse-control disorder… These gamblers are unable to stop playing even when it hurts them or loved ones.” Those most at risk of becoming problem gamblers in the first place include immigrants, youth, aboriginals and those with low-income.

       COST ON THE ECONOMY: Gambling results in lower productivity, higher absenteeism, increases in sick days, etc. And this hit on the economy is not just suffered by gamblers but by all those close to them who suffer as well.

       COST ON JUSTICE SYSTEM:

      1. Gambling can lead to depression, suicide and money generating crime “Two-thirds of compulsive gamblers in one study admitted to committing illegal acts to support their gambling. Crimes include bad cheque writing, loan fraud and embezzlement.
      2. Sixty-three per cent of gamblers in one study were either the perpetrator or victim of intimate partner violence (physical assault, injury, and/or sexual coercion) in the past year.
      3. The cost of crime associated with problem gambling, including the costs to police and courts for investigation, prosecution, incarceration, rehabilitation for offenders and restoration for victims, is a major hidden cost of gambling.

       COST ON SPORT: In Europe, where single game betting is legal, sport is rife with game-fixing scandals. Professional leagues, along with the NCAA (of which Simon Fraser University is a member), will take a tough line on Canada if this bill passes.

Honourable Senator, it is abundantly obvious that expanding the scope and availability of gambling is terrible for the health and wellbeing of our society. Please, I urge you, for the sake of Canadians, vote against Bill C-290 and ask all other Senators to do the same.

Thank you for your service to this country.

Sincerely yours,

 

*for a version with footnotes and citations, click on the Word doc. attached below.

Senators: Alberta

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Senators: Manitoba

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Senators: Ontario

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Senators: All of Canada

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