Canada’s legalization of single-game sports betting could keep billions of dollars in the country and create more than 200 jobs, according to a motion approved by the Niagara Regional Council.
A motion introduced by Fort Erie Regional Councillor Sandy Annunziata recently received got the nod from regional politicians. The motion supports amending Canada’s Criminal Code to make betting on single-sporting events legal. The C-290 sports betting bill was approved by Canada’s House of Commons in 2012, only to have it stalled in the Senate for three years before officially dying off last summer when the 42nd general election was called.
While residents of Ontario can already bet on sports legally it is currently restricted to Pro-Line sports betting services. Offered at retail kiosks across Canada and at its online site through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the outcomes of three or more contests are selected by bettors, according to the Niagara Falls Review.
While stringent enforcement and accountability measures are in place in the regulated market, not all online casinos or betting sites are subject to Canadian government regulation and people are using off-shore companies such as bet365 to bet on single-sporting events. That is one reason why Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said he supports the amendment. Diodati said regardless of your opinion on gambling, it’s still happening, so why not keep those billions of dollars being spent in Canada. Every year Canadians wager $14 billion –illegally- on sports claims the Canadian Gaming Association, according to the regional motion.
The motion states that if Canada were to legalize single-sport gaming, Ontario’s race tracks and border casinos would have a competitive advantage over casinos in the U.S. If amended the regional council would encourage Ontario’s Ministry of Finance to work with the various government agencies to look at implementing single-sport event wagering at Ontario casinos, including the Fort Erie Race Track. The approved motion will be sent to Niagra’s MP’s, MPP’s and municipalities for information.
Greg Medulun, spokesman for Niagara Casinos, said in a recent case study the impact of a sports book on two of Ontario’s border casinos in Windsor and Niagara Falls, was looked at by the Canadian Gaming Association. According to Medulun, a sports book in Niagara Falls would result in $1.7 million for the casino and $34.4 million in gross wagers. He said that while sports betting alone won’t produce significant revenues, it’s expected that attendance and ancillary revenues from hotels, food, beverage and entertainment, etc., would increase. Medulun went on to say that the Senate must pass a bill with such amendments. If that happens, the Governor General would have to sign it and proclaim it as law. OLG would then be able to consider single-event sport wagering. The bill has been reintroduced since the federal election in October.