Citing developments in the United States, a lawmaker from Canada has said that the country needs to be a part of the burgeoning sports betting industry.
In a meeting with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, the issue of sports betting was brought up by David Cassidy, president of union Unifor Local 444, who said legalization would immediately generate jobs.
According to local outlet Windsor Star, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey said of sports betting, “We need to be a player in this. There’s absolutely no reason not to be,” adding that legalization would curb black markets, and provide revenue to deal with gambling addiction.
She was also quoted by Blackburn News as saying, “I don’t really understand the resistance to something that would create jobs, not just in our community but across Canada.”
Cassidy hinted at the urgency to pass legislation, given that the U.S. had taken several steps forward in this regard. With the U.S. Supreme Court declaring a federal ban on sports betting as unconstitutional, several states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania have joined Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon in allowing legal wagering on sports events, with many more states expected to follow suit.
Cassidy, whose union members include workers from Caesars Windsor in Ontario, singled out Michigan as a state that was set to pass its own sports betting legislation. “Right across the ditch, there’s going to be single sports betting… We’re going to be behind once again as Michigan goes forward with it,” he warned.
Getting 150 additional jobs in Caesar Windsor, according to Cassidy, needed a simple amendment to the present state law. “Just one change of the Criminal Code in one paragraph. This is a decade-old file that needs to be addressed,” he said.
An earlier effort to allow for single-game sports betting, authored by MP Brian Masse, failed to pass in 2016, by a vote of 156-133. At the time, Masse had claimed that illegal sports wagering operations were a CAD10-billion (US$7.6 billion) market annually. “This is a huge missed opportunity that perpetuates a completely unacceptable yet entirely correctable status quo,” he had said.
Cassidy said he had already contacted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the proposed measure about a month ago. “We’re going to be doing lobbying efforts. It’s going to be front and center because we have a lot of members that are in the hospitality sector that [the ban] negatively affects,” he said.
In October, MGM Resorts International became an official gaming partner with the National Hockey League, which is composed of seven teams from Canada. Under the agreement, MGM will get to use NHL league and team trademarks for marketing purposes, and the NHL’s fan database will be merged with MGM’s M life rewards program to facilitate cross-marketing activities.