Caesars Windsor June 29, 2015. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Union, MP vow to push single-event sports-betting again

The NDP’s push to legalize single-event sports-betting in Canada may not be dead just yet.

First former Windsor-Tecumseh MP Joe Comartin, and then Windsor West MP Brian Masse spent the better part of a decade trying to legalize it, arguing it would create jobs. Despite enjoying broad support, the private member’s bill died in the Senate in 2016.

Fast forward to this week.

During a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland on Tuesday, Unifor Local 444 President David Cassidy raised the issue again.

Sports-betting and the Criminal Code are not a part of Freeland’s portfolio, but Cassidy had a point to make.

“I can respect that. I said, I sent the message a month ago through the prime minister, I mean I want you to send the message again,” he said. “We’re going to be doing lobbying efforts. It’s going to be front and centre because we have a lot of members that are in the hospitality sector that it negatively affects.”

Sports betting is already allowed in four U.S. States including Nevada, but Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Connecticut could legalize it within two years. It’s Michigan’s bid that has Cassidy worried.

“We’re going to be behind, once again,” he said. “Getting 150 jobs to Caesars Windsor just on single-event sports betting. Just one change of the Criminal Code in one paragraph. This is a decade old file that needs to be addressed.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey agrees.

“We need to be a player in this space,” she told reporters. “I don’t really understand the resistance to something that would create jobs, not just in our community but across Canada.”