Windsor-area candidates of the New Democratic Party are calling out Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson for opposing the single event sports betting legislation.
Proposed by outgoing Windsor-Tecumseh MP Joe Comartin, Bill C-290 passed the House of Commons in March 2012, but failed to go through the Senate despite having the support of members from all parties, the Canadian Labor Congress and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Canadians are currently only allowed to bet legally on three games at a time. Had C-290 passed, the bill would have allowed players to make single-game sports wagers with their provincial lottery corporations.
Now, incumbent MP Brian Masse of Windsor West said he already has a new bill on hand if he gets re-elected, OurWindsor.ca reported. Masse told reporters the country already has an issue of organized crime “getting a significant payday” because single-event sports betting is already “happening in the backrooms, the backyards and the basements.”
Watson, however, is opposing all types of single sports betting legislation, which he said will only “make it simpler to fix matches in sport.”
“[It] also would increase the likelihood that people will bet everything on something as simple as the coin toss before a Super Bowl,” Watson told the news outlet in a separate interview.
Masse fired back at the Essex MP, saying that by making the activity legal, it will not only put regulations in place to curb illegal networks, but will also provide jobs and generate revenue for many programs in the country.
Masse also called out Watson for “hiding from the problem,” saying: “We’re putting people further at risk because the activity takes place and there’s no support for them socially to deal with the repercussions.”
Watson, however, believes that the bill wouldn’t have gone past the House of Commons, if only the vote didn’t happen on a Friday. The Conservative said the bill was approved based on a “voice vote,” which happens if there are less than five members of parliament who ask for a recorded vote. Watson said the voting happened on a day when other MPs were on their way back to their constituencies, meaning lesser number of opponents for the bill.
Masse fired the parting shot, calling Watson “nothing more than shameless” for hiding behind that reason instead of asking the members of his caucus to stand in his place for the vote.