With the Super Bowl upon us, undoubtedly the biggest sporting event in North America (sorry hockey fans), Windsorites, Members of Parliament and sports fans alike are fuming and gritting their teeth at the missed opportunities that single sports betting would have provided for the region.
Ushered through the House of Commons like a quarterback rushing into the end zone, Bill C-290 was supported by all parties in the House, however, the Senate has effectively stopped the bill dead in its tracks in a rare display of power by the upper house.
C-290 would repeal the Criminal Code section which prohibits betting on a single athletic contest, fight, race, or sporting event. Provinces would be able to determine whether or not to allow single-game betting in their jurisdictions.
Proponents of the legislation claims that it would add much needed jobs to the region through the creation of additional work at provincially-operated & regulated casinos.
Including New Jersey and Nevada, there are only two other states which offer single-sports betting, and had the legislation passed, Caesar’s Windsor would have undoubtedly been one of the first casinos in all of Canada to offer the betting.
“We would have been the first in Canada [to allow for single-sports betting], and we would have had a significant advantage to attract Americans,” commented Windsor West MP Brian Masse to OurWindsor.ca while adding that tourism would have increased.
“It’s a missed opportunity to showcase Caesars Windsor and enhance our competitive position in a tough marketplace,” said Matt Marchand, President and CEO, Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber. “Having single sports betting at Caesars Windsor for Super Bowl weekend would unquestionably add significant economic activity and excitement to our region,” added Marchand.
The Bill had passed a formal voice vote in the House, but did not pass a standing vote because Parliamentary rules dictate that unless at least 5 MPs rise to oppose a bill and say nay, a voice vote is sufficient for it to pass.
“Nobody got up and said nay in the House of Commons, and a couple of members of the Conservatives now claim that they wanted to have a standing vote,” stated Masse, “that was their problem for being lazy, or not having the courage to stand up and say no and force a standing vote.”
“To say that the House of Commons never voted on it … is an outright lie” said Masse.
Masse explained that industry lobbyists are concerned that single-sports betting would allow for players to ‘fix’ games which he calls ludicrous because “any times that games have been thrown, it’s been through organized crime … they wouldn’t use the legal system to throw a game. It’s an absurd argument that I believe is just there because they want to somehow get a cut of the action.”
Masse is frustrated that the senate – which for the most part is unelected – is holding up a bill that would “affect organized crime significantly and redirect resources to the provinces and people … it’s a bill passed by the people in this country who elected them.”
“It’s another example of how the senate doesn’t work. There are some Senators who do some good work, but this Bill really is showing the [Senate’s] weakness,” explained Masse, “It’s simply not fair for Canadians to witness laws that have been enacted by people that they’ve selected, who are accountable to them, languish because political hacks, money men and other types of favours are rewarded by [the Senate].”
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.