Masse wants to raise stakes for sports betting

Sports Book. © Can Stock Photo / sbotas

A local Member of Parliament is gathering support for the legalizing of single-game sports betting in Canada.

Windsor West MP Brian Masse was in Toronto and the Niagara region on Tuesday, meeting with a variety of stakeholders in his capacity as the NDP’s innovation, science, economic development and auto industry critic. This included a stop at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, a region where increased competition for gambling dollars is imminent thanks to the legalization of sports betting in neighbouring New York State.

Masse told that the climate in Niagara on this issue is very similar to that in Windsor, which borders Michigan, another state that recently legalized single-game betting.

“In Niagara Falls, they are faced with similar situations to Windsor. In fact, they’re holding up millions of dollars in construction with regards to new ventures they want to actually propose, to maintain and currently increase customer bases,” said Masse.

With Michigan only recently putting single-game betting into law, Masse said in Ontario, things are tightening up as far as the possibility of lost revenue is concerned.

“Time is critical,” said Masse. “I can’t understand why we don’t have this, to begin with. It is important not only for our current footprint for infrastructure and our current employment base, but also for new innovations, new opportunities to invest, and more accountable sports betting.”

There is no bill yet that has been introduced to the House of Commons, but Masse said he has been in touch with his parliamentary colleagues and believes there is enough support to prompt Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to act.

“What we’ve asked for is a clear position from the Liberals with regards to what they stand on this,” said Masse. “We’ve asked for an order-in-council to be passed, which would be the quickest way to deal with this as well as the fairest way. The state of New York is already taking customers away. Michigan will be doing that as well.”

The push to get sports betting on the agenda has been in full swing for over a month. In December, representatives from the lottery and gaming industries met at Caesars Windsor to discuss the issue. While two attempts to legalize sports betting in Canada have failed in the past decade, the industry analysts said the circumstances are different now.