Sports-betting bill to boost Windsor's economy, expert says
If single-game sports betting is given the green light in the Senate this week, it could single-handedly give Caesars Windsor a competitive edge over Detroit casinos.
"This would be a great product to help regain the competitive advantage and bring the visitors back across the border," said Paul Burns, vice-president of the Canadian Gaming Association, which represents organizations like Caesars Windsor.
The Senate will begin debating Bill C-290 Tuesday. If passed, it would allow people to bet on single sporting events, which is against the law in Canada, but legal in four U.S. states.
"Canadians are betting on sports right now. They're betting on single-game sports in very large numbers," said Burns. "We estimate that $4 billion is being bet offshore through online sports book operations and probably another $10 billion or so bet through organized crime bookie operations," he said.
Through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, gamblers are allowed to bet on multiple sports games at the same time.
The bill has already unanimously passed in the House of Commons.
Burns said the approval of single-game sports betting will give a boost to Windsor's economy.
"The competitive advantages that the Windsor casino had over the years have slowly slipped away. When you see things like changes in smoking laws, parity in the dollar and a thickening of the border," said Burns.
The MLB, NBA, NHL and the NFL organizations all oppose single-game betting.
"They talk about the integrity of their sport and concern about match-fixing and the like," said Burns. "And what we've said to them is 'why wouldn't you want a regulated environment with gaming regulators and operators and helping you protect the integrity of your sport?'"
He said regulators play a pivotal role in protecting the integrity of sports in places like Europe, Asia and Australia.
"They've seen it as a good partnership in other parts of the world. It's working and we would like it to work here," said Burns.
Burns believes the bill will pass in the senate "hopefully sometime before Christmas."