Single-event sports betting bill to return after NDP MP wins parliamentary 'lottery'

Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse plans to introduce single-event sports betting bill as soon as possible.
Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse was picked seventh in the most recent draw to determine which private members' bills will be introduced.

It took a lottery to put single-event sports betting back on the House of Commons agenda.

At any given time, no more than 30 private members' bills or motions are allowed on the House agenda, with the order determined by lottery.

For those whose names are drawn first, winning the legislative lottery can be a chance to bring a campaign pledge to the floor of the House of Commons.

That's exactly what Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse plans to do. His name was picked seventh in the most recent draw to determine what's officially called the order of precedence for private member's business.

He told CBC's Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette on Monday that he intends to re-introduce a bill designed to legalize single-event sports.

"I've promised to try to restore the single sports betting bill," he said.

Original bill died in Senate

Retired NDP MP Joe Comartin first introduced  Bill C-290 back in 2011. It passed the House with all-party approval and arrived in the Senate in March 2012, and ended up one stage short of Royal Assent by June 2013.

The bill died when the 42nd general election was called.

The process now has to start over.

"We look forward to the bill being introduced by Brian," Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce president Matt Marchand said. "We fully anticipate the bill will pass and we expect the Senate will carry out the will of the House."

The original Bill C-290 was an act designed to amend the Criminal Code and "allow for wagering on the outcome of a single sporting event, which is currently illegal in Canada."

The proposed legislation would have repealed a section of the Criminal Code that prohibits betting on a single race, fight, sporting event or athletic contest.

If it had passed, provinces would have been allowed to make the change to allow gamblers to bet on one game at a time rather than multiple games.

Bill called 'job creation tool'

Currently, wagerers must bet on — and correctly predict the outcome of — at least two games, but usually three, in order to win.

"The gaming marketplace is very crowded, very competitive," Marchand said. "It's a great opportunity for them to be first in the marketplace to offer this new gaming opportunity."

Comartin previously told CBC single-event betting would be "a job creation tool, not just for this community but for a number of communities across the country."

Comartin claimed back in July that the change would have "created or saved 250 jobs" at Caesars Windsor.

Masse previously called single sports betting "a windfall for organized crime."

Money for schools, hospitals

The Canadian Gaming Association says Canadians spend $450 million a year on multiple or parlay bets, but more than $10 billion on single sporting events.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa wanted the original bill passed in order to create new sources of revenue for provinces to spend on hospitals and education.

Shawn Rumble, a problem gambling counsellor at Windsor's Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, previously told CBC that he believes single-event sports betting will feed more gambling addictions.

Masse has previously said more money could be put toward gambling addiction treatment programs if the betting is legalized.


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