Lottery boosts Canada sports bet hopes; PlayOLG plan mobile app, peer-to-peer poker

brian-masse-canada-sports-betting-billCanada’s single-game sports betting bill will get a second shot at becoming law, ironically due to its backer having won a parliamentary lottery.

Brian Masse (pictured), the New Democratic Party member of parliament for the Ontario riding of Windsor-West, has vowed to reintroduce the C-290 sports betting legislation, which was approved by the House of Commons in 2012 but officially died last summer after the Senate failed to ratify the bill before October’s federal election.

C-290 was a private member’s bill, i.e. legislation proposed by an MP not from the ruling party. Such bills rarely become law, not just because there’s no guarantee the current majority Liberal government will vote in favor of the bill but also because parliamentary procedure allows only 30 such bills to take up space on the House agenda.

But Masse told CBC News that his name was picked seventh in the most recent parliamentary lottery that dictates the order in which private members can propose bills. Masse had previously vowed to reintroduce a version of retired NDP MP Joe Comartin’s C-290 and now says he will make good on that promise, which he hopes will benefit the casinos in his home riding as well as sports bettors across the country.

C-290 would have amended Canada’s Criminal Code, which stipulates that sports betting is the sole responsibility of the provincial lottery monopolies. However, the betting is limited to parlay wagering, a constraint that the monopolies have long complained limits their appeal when compared to the broader options offered by international online gambling sites serving the Canadian market.

PlayOLG, the online gambling division of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), will mark its first anniversary this month. To celebrate, OLG is planning the launch of a new mobile app and the overdue launch of peer-to-peer online poker.

PlayOLG launched in January 2015 with a mix of lottery products, slots, casino table games and video poker but OLG spokesperson Ryan Bissonnette says the new app will offer live poker games with other OLG players as well as players who’ve signed up with similar lottery corp sites in other provinces, including Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba.

PlayOLG celebrated a different milestone in December, handing out a $1m lottery jackpot through a ticket purchased online, the largest prize the site has awarded to date.