Single sports betting bill delayed by prorouged Parliament

NDP MP Brian Masse brought renewed attention to legalizing single sports betting Friday, saying that the prorouging of Parliament has further delayed the process. 

A prorouged Parliament means a new agenda will be brought forward

Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse says that the prorouging of the government will delay the law on single sports betting. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

A local politician brought renewed attention to legalizing single sports betting Friday saying that the prorouging of Parliament has further delayed the process. 

In a news conference outside Caesars Windsor, NDP MP Brian Masse, joined by Unifor Local 444 president David Cassidy, said that a prorouged government stalls the movement of a private member's bill that sought to legalize single sports betting in Canada.

That's because with the prorouging of Parliament any existing bills and ongoing committee work have been halted, and will have to be introduced as entirely new when Parliament resumes.

"We were promised in this past election that sports betting ... would be an easy one to get done and here we are a year later, more problems, more delays," Masse said. 

Bill C-218, the single sports betting bill, was introduced by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh and was waiting for second reading. The legalization of single sports betting has been a years-long battle that Masse has been part of. 

Currently for people to bet legally on sports they must bet on a minimum of three games. 

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Masse argues that had the bill been approved, it would have taken money out of the illegal market and allowed a facility like Caesars, whose casino has been closed since March, to be making revenue at this time through online or on-site gaming. 

"It's a great example though of how we continue to miss opportunities," Masse said. 

Unifor 444, which represents workers at the casino, said single sports betting would have made a difference during the pandemic.

"It's so important that we get this facility open, this is the second largest employer in the City of Windsor ... and until we can get moving forward with that, it's a problem," Cassidy said. "We could of already had [single sports betting] moving forward." 

Unifor Local 444 president David Cassidy says single sports betting could have helped out workers at the casino during these times. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Despite the region being in Stage 3 of reopening, the casino has remained shut as it is only allowed 50 people indoors at a time. 

Officials for the organization have said they are working on a plan to support a larger number of guests. 

On Friday, the province announced effective immediately it would begin allowing event spaces to host up to 50 people in "each indoor meeting room or event space within the facility," provided the company sticks to a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. 

The government said the change is designed to support facilities that rent rooms for meetings and events.

While Lisa MacLeod, minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, didn't explicitly name casinos in the announcement, she did say it would apply to convention centres, hotels and professional meeting facilities.