|In Canada, an alert Liberal politician flagged a dangerous clause in a government ’housekeeping’ bill last week that could have made online gambling illegal in the nation.|
According to a report in the Law Times, Senator George Baker raised a red flag when the bill hit the floor and stated that its minor amendments to modernise bookmaking laws by removing Criminal Code references to ‘telephone and telegraph’ and substituting ‘any form of telecommunication’ posed serious consequences for Internet servers and home gamblers.
“There is a big market for Internet gambling in Canada,” said Senator Baker.
“Online poker is huge. This bill will end that and that has not been brought up by anyone.”
Baker stated that the proposed legislation amends more than a dozen Criminal Code sections and had passed through four House Of Commons committee hearings in Ottawa with no mention of its potential effect on online gambling.
Despite assurances from Justice Minister Rob Nicholson that the change was minor and would not alter the legal status of offshore-based online gaming, top officials from PartyGaming, a Gibraltar-based Internet gambling group, have implored the Senate to amend the legislation.
“The goal is to seek clarity, to ensure that if Parliament is to make an amendment, and is to make this amendment, that the intent of the amendment is not subject to interpretation, is not ambiguous and that it is clear exactly to whom and what the amendment is meant to apply,” said Mitch Garber, Chief Executive Officer for PartyGaming.