Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa has entered the fractious debate on Canadian sports betting, urging the Canadian Senate to legalise single-event sports betting….a concept overwhelmingly supported by the lower House and the gambling industry (see previous reports).
Two years ago the lower house of the Canadian parliament voted strongly for private member’s bill C-290, which seeks to permit gamblers to bet on one game at a time, such as the Super Bowl. Currently, bettors must wager on a minimum of two games at once — called a parlay — and get all three predictions correct to win.
C-290 would repeal the relevant section of the Criminal Code that prohibits betting on a single race, fight, sporting event or athletic contest.
Since then the Senate has managed to delay the bill and keep it in an upper house limbo; a remarkable departure from the Senate’s usual practice of rubber-stamping bills approved by the Commons.
Minister Sousa joined other organisations and influential spokesmen this week in calling for the Senate to stop delaying the implementation of the bill, saying that it was a change that the community is asking for.
Earlier, a representative of the gambling industry said the failure to pass the bill would mean millions of dollars lost to legitimate bookmakers this weekend during the Super Bowl. Instead, the money would flow to offshore bookies and sports betting websites, who do not contribute to Canadian tax coffers, he said.
The chambers of commerce in Windsor-Essex and Niagara Falls have also commented, noting that the passage of the bill will increase revenue and create new jobs.
A report by the Canadian Gaming Association estimates Caesars Windsor and Fallsview Casino could add 250 full-time jobs if the bill is passed.
Minister Sousa said in a statement:
“Much monies that would otherwise be held here in Ontario for the purposes of investing in hospitals and education is not staying here as a result of [the failure to pass C-290]….“I think the Senate should move on it, and that’s been the wishes of the federal government and all parties at the federal level. They should proceed.”
The CBC reports that a study prepared by HLT Advisory for the Canadian Gaming Association estimates Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls could earn a net gaming profit of between $9 million and $12 million each year if single game betting is allowed. In Windsor, it would be $18 million to $24 million.
Windsor would also see up to $7 million in “ancillary revenue,” the report found.