single-game sports betting
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Canadian MP Introduces Single-Game Sports Betting Bill for Third Time

As the list of American states to legalize sports betting continues to grow, their neighbors to the north are also looking to get in the game. Canadian Member of Parliament (MP) Brian Masse – a member of the New Democratic Party – joined forces with Conservative Party MP Kevin Waugh to co-sponsor single-game sports betting legislation in late February.

Bill C-218 would expand Canada’s current system of parlay and specialty sports wagering, administered by the country’s various provincial lotteries, to include straight up single-game bets as well. Under the existing “grey market,” Canadian sports bettors can place a variety of parlay-style wagers on collegiate and professional sports, but single-game betting is specifically outlawed.

Two previous bills have made progress during the last decade, but Canadian lawmakers haven’t been able to cross the finish line as of yet.

Parliamentary Mathematics Make Passage a Tall Task

Bill C-218 would expand Canada’s current system of parlay and specialty sports wagering, administered by the country’s various provincial lotteries, to include straight up single-game bets as well. Under the existing “grey market,” Canadian sports bettors can place a variety of parlay-style wagers on collegiate and professional sports, but single-game betting is specifically outlawed.

If approved by 170 members of the 338-seat Parliament of Canada, Bill C-218 would rectify that discrepancy by striking one paragraph from the country’s Criminal Code.

That may be a difficult threshold to achieve though, as the Conservative and New Democratic parties only combine for 145 seats.

Complicating matters further, Waugh has told local media outlets that he only expects 100 of the 121 Conservative MPs to support his bill. With the New Democratic Party accounting for just 24 seats of their own, Waugh and Masse will need to broaden their coalition to overcome the Liberal Party’s 157-seat majority.

Speaking to the Windsor Star, Masse expressed confidence that enough Liberal MPs would side with regulating and taxing single-game sports betting:

“You now have bipartisan Conservative and NDP members co-sponsoring a bill. This will be another opportunity for the Prime Minister to do something on this.

Kevin Waugh and I will be working with and lobbying members from all parties to finally get this done.

(Liberal MPs) danced around on this during (last October’s) election on whether they support this. Now the music has run out, this is going to be debated and voted on within a few weeks and they will have to make a decision.”

Co-Sponsor Speaks Out Urging Lawmakers to Tap Sports Betting Market

Masse represents the city of Windsor, Ontario, home to the Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino.

With the casino located only a few minutes across the Detroit River from the Motor City – and MGM Grand Detroit recently launching its newly legalized sportsbook – Masse is framing his sports betting efforts as a way to compete with American operators.

In further comments made to the Windsor Star, the seven-term MP explained why legalizing single-game sports wagering is critical for the local gambling industry:

“We are going to lose market share to the U.S.

(A few years ago) we were hoping to attract U.S. customers (by being first with sports betting), but now the fight is to retain customers.

This is critical for our community. People who work at our casino do a great job, but they need this product to compete.”

Detroit is home to three casino resorts, with MGM Grand joined by Greektown and MotorCity, and each of them has a brick-and-mortar sportsbook up and running as of March 12.

Local union leader Dave Cassidy visited Ottawa last month to tell MPs what’s at stake for Canadian workers within the casino industry:

“It’s no secret Michigan has passed this, and the facts are they are already moving forward.

I know Motor City Casino (in Detroit) is putting a lot of money into this and the other casinos are going to do the same.

People need to understand what this means to the economy. We are talking what could be 100 to 150 new jobs (in Windsor) with this.

This is a $10-billion to $15-billion industry whether (betting) off-shore or on phones.”

Michigan’s online / mobile sports betting market is expected to launch in early 2021.