Stakeholders pushing for single-game sports betting

Stakeholders in the lottery and gaming industry want the government to move forward to authorize single-game sports betting.

They met with members of parliament from all parties at Caesars Windsor this week to push for amendments in the law.

“The government needs to act quickly. The threat is imminent. Michigan will be up and running soon. New York has started other states in other parts of the United States
have moved exceptionally quickly to pass bills,” said Paul Burns, president of the Canadian Gaming Association.

A bill to pass single-game sports betting has failed to pass legislation twice in the last ten years. However, Burns said there have been changes to the landscape.

“The last impediment, I would say, that was removed from the equation was the professional sports leagues in North America are now in favour of this, they’ve asked for this change from the federal government,” said Burns.

Representatives from all three parties were at the stakeholder meeting Monday, and all voiced their support for the change.

MP for Windsor-West Brian Masse said he has lawyers working on the paperwork needed to amend the law. However, he said it’s unlikely he’ll get the opportunity to introduce the private member’s bill, so he’s hoping the government steps up to introduce the new legislation.

“At the end of the day, it could be a matter of weeks if there’s the political will to do that. They have a couple of different options to go to for it. That’s not likely, but that’s the technical answer to the question in regards to the processing,” said Masse.

Once the bill passed at the federal level, there would still be some work to do before single-game sports betting would be available in the casino.

“The provinces would go to the regulators, and they would set up the systems,” said Kevin Laforet, regional president at Caesars Windsor. “Just a guess would be that you’d be looking at about a year probably from the time you get approval at the federal level to the time you see sports betting.

Laforet expects there will be some loss of patronage if single-game sports betting is approved in Michigan before Ontario.

“It’s really unfortunate. We had a chance where we could have had a competitive advantage, and now we’ll be playing catch-up,” said Laforet. “It’s going to be a challenge for us. We’ve got 35 per cent of our business comes from the US, and they have to drive by three Detroit casinos to visit us.”

Burns said they will now be visiting other jurisdictions with gaming facilities to get their MPs to support the bill.