November 25th, 2020 - 7:59pm
All three opposition parties were supporting the PMB, so the government accepted reality
(WINDSOR)- Today, Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West), NDP Innovation, Science, Economic Development and Auto Critic along with UNIFOR Local 444 welcomed the government finally taking the private members bill (PMB) C-218, a bill to legalize single event sports betting (SESB) and the third PMB to address this issue, and making it government legislation. Yesterday the Minister of Justice David Lametti MP (LaSalle-Emard-Verdun) called Masse to thank him and inform him of the government decision. This morning it was confirmed by the notice on the order paper at the House of Commons and by Irek Kusmierczk MP (Windsor-Tecumseh) on social media. Masse’s PMB was transferred to Conservative M.P. Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon-Grasswood), a former television sports journalist, who drew the seventh slot to introduce a PMB, guaranteeing a vote this parliamentary session. The government is introducing the government bill Thursday morning.
“It has taken almost ten years, three parliaments and two prime ministers to do something that would fight organized crime, give consumers protection, create jobs, and address addictions. There have been many people and organizations that played an essential role in making this day happen. First, I’d like to recognize my former colleague Joe Comartin who introduced the first bill in 2011, that made it through the House then and was killed in the Senate. Second, I would like to thank the leadership of UNIFOR Local 444, from Ken Lewenza to Dave Cassidy along with the entire membership who have been with us for this whole journey. I’d like to thank Paul Burns and the Canadian Gaming Association who have been fellow travellers as well. I’d like to thank chambers of commerce from across the country and the leadership locally for the past decade who have been there as well. I’d like to thank city councils from many cities who endorsed this action. I’d like to thank police and law enforcement organizations who have supported this initiative as well. I’d also like thank the many Canadians from across the country who have supported this endeavour since this issue has affected them or their families and wanted to see this change to help others,” Masse stated
The gaming sector is the largest component of the entertainment industry in Canada accounting for over 250 000 jobs across Canada. In 2018 the United States Supreme court struck down the federal law preventing States from allowing SESB. Since that time 19 states have legalized SESB including New York State and Michigan allows for sports betting in physical a casino which directly threatens the market for Canadian gaming facilities in Niagara Falls, Windsor, Ontario and across the country. Mobile sport betting, which is done through an app on phones, represents approximately 70 percent of all sports betting in many markets. It is estimated that the illegal SESB market in Canada is over $10 billion which funds organized crime.
“The Canadian Gaming Association welcomes the Government’s decision to prioritize the amendment of the Criminal Code to permit single-event sports wagering by introducing this bill,” said Paul Burns, President & CEO, CGA. “After several attempts through Private Members’ Bills, the first led by Joe Comartin, then Brian Masse and now Kevin Waugh, this move comes at a time when Canada’s gaming industry and communities such as Windsor have been severely impacted by COVID-19. We applaud the decision to focus on providing safeguards for Canadians and an economic recovery tool for communities.”
“I want to thank Brian, Joe and all those who worked so hard for the past ten years to make this happen. Local 444 has been lobbying for years for single event sports gaming to be finally legalized. Now more than ever with the serious competition from the US we need this passed. This will retain and create more jobs as well as attracting the necessary investment to ensure our gaming sector jobs are robust and healthy. Today is big step but there is still a way to go, so let’s keep pushing until it becomes law,” stated Dave Cassidy, Unifor Local 444 President.
“I want to thank MP Kevin Waugh for taking on this bill and using his spot in the PMB order to make this a non-partisan effort. The government recognized that with the three opposition parties supporting this bill it was going to pass so they accepted reality and made it a government bill.,” Masse stated. “Today is significant milestone in the process but we still have a way to go before this becomes law. As with many other issues over the past 18 years that I initiated, from the Right-to-Repair, Polluter Pay, the Bridge and Tunnel Act, a federally funded and publicly owned bridge, the Micro Plastics Ban and the recognition of the Srebrenica Genocide, it takes time to build consensus to get bills passed. There is still a long way to go until we get royal assent, and this is the law of the land,” Masse said.