A more than ten-year long struggle finally achieves its goal after the efforts of many
(OTTAWA)–NDP MP Brian Masse’s (Windsor West) former private member’s bill (PMB) to legalize single event sports betting (SESB), C-218, has passed the Senate.
This journey began 10 years ago in 2011 with former MP Joe Comartin’s private member’s bill and has gone through several iterations with three bills over the years. With this version gathering support to such an extent where former opponents became its most ardent supporters, it passed the Senate Tuesday afternoon. The bill had unanimously passed in the House of Commons’ (HOC) Justice Committee. The bill was then transferred to and introduced by Conservative M.P. Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon-Grasswood), a former television sports journalist, who drew the seventh slot to introduce a PMB, guaranteeing a vote this parliamentary session, which passed the House with 303 in voting in favour and only 15 voting against on February 17. It had the support of MPs from the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, the Conservatives, and the Liberals.
“There are many people and organizations who have worked for years to make this happen today. I want to thank them all. Locally, Dave Cassidy and Unifor, who have been champions of this legislation for years. I want to thank MP Kevin Waugh for taking on this bill and using his precious early spot on the PMB order to make this a bipartisan effort. This is the third legislative attempt to get a bill passed, and it finally worked. The two previous times it started as just a NDP bill and we built cross party support over time but, it never got over the goal line,” Masse stated. “As demonstrated in the overwhelming support for this bill, the enormous efforts of the past ten years have paid off. This is a demonstration of what Canadians send parliamentarians from all parties to do, work together to achieve solutions for everyone. Today is what progress looks like,” Masse said.
The gaming sector is the largest component of the entertainment industry in Canada accounting for over 250, 000 jobs across Canada. In 2018 the United States Supreme court struck down the federal law preventing States from allowing SESB. Since that time 19 states have legalized SESB including New York State and Michigan, which allow for sports betting in a physical casino, which directly threatens the market for Canadian gaming facilities in Niagara Falls, Windsor, Ontario and across the country.
Mobile sport betting, which is done through phone apps, is already available in New Jersey and represents approximately 70 percent of all sports betting in that market and is expected to reach those levels in other jurisdictions.
It is estimated that the illegal SESB market in Canada is worth over $10 billion and funds organized crime. With this bill becoming law, it will level the playing field for Canadian casinos and allow provinces to set their own rules and regulations for single event sports betting. It will allow for provinces to establish real consumer protections for funding and assistance for problem gambling, while being able to eliminate the illegal black market.