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    February 2007
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    Default Canadian Senate cuts out language from bill that would have made I-gaming illegal

    Canada almost had its own UIGEA, and just like the US, it was never debated.

    The so-called chamber of sleepy second thought, the Senate, stepped in at the last minute to amend an innocent-looking clause in a government “housekeeping” bill that might have inadvertently made online gambling illegal in Canada.

    Liberal Senator George Baker raised a red flag when the bill hit the Senate floor, saying minor amendments to modernize bookmaking laws by removing Criminal Code references to “telephone and telegraph” posed serious consequences for internet servers and home gamblers.

    “There is a big market for internet gambling in Canada,” Baker said. “Online poker is huge. This bill will end that, and that has not been brought up by anyone.”

    He told Law Times the legislation, amending more than a dozen Criminal Code sections, had gone through four House of Commons committee hearings with no mention of the bill’s potential effect on internet gamers.

    Despite assurances from Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and his department lawyers that the change was minor and would not alter the legal status of offshore-based online gaming in Canada, top officials from PartyGaming PLC, an online gambling site based in Gibraltar, later implored the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee to amend the legislation.
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