Canadian lawmaker, Brian Masse of the New Democrat Party, representing Windsor West in the House of Commons, has announced that he will be introducing the forgotten single-event sports betting bill to Parliament as soon as it resumes work. This development is being followed with a great deal of interest by the gambling industry for obvious reasons.
The previous bill, also a private members bill, was introduced by Joe Comartin, the former representative for Windsor-Tecumseh, and it started out well enough when it was passed in the House of Commons in 2011. However, it did not make it past the Senate and languished for want of support. It has received spirited opposition from two Conservative Senators, Vern White and Linda Frum. The former still vehemently opposes the legalisation of sports betting, which she compares to making heroin and cocaine legal!
Comartin’s successor in Windsor-Tecumseh, Cheryl Hardcastle has also expressed her desire to reintroduce the bill in the coming session of parliament as did Tracey Ramsey, the Member of Parliament from adjoining Essex. Their main argument in favour of the proposed law is that it will benefit the local economy tremendously and also prevent money from illegal bets falling into the hands of criminals.
The New Democrats are eager to bring this legislation about and they intend to work with lawmakers across the board in order to make this happen. The party does not have numerical strength in Parliament and is in third position behind the Liberal and Conservative parties. However, Masse is optimistic about the chances of this legislation since his party has been doing a lot of legwork to bring about proper understanding of what exactly it entails and how it will benefit the Canadian citizens. The bill that was introduced previously suffered on account of lack of understanding among lawmakers about its purpose.
While the introduction of this law is indeed a priority with Masse, there is no clarity on when it will actually be introduced. The Liberal government cabinet has to be sworn in first before the House of Commons is recalled and proceedings can begin. The Liberals are no doubt very excited about their amazing success in the recently concluded elections, which catapulted them to power from their erstwhile third position.
Not everyone in Canada shares the optimism of the New Democrats. As a matter of fact, many political analysts are of the opinion that this particular legislation will not be given much priority by the new Liberal government whose cabinet is scheduled to be sworn in on 4 November. However, things can swing in its favour if sufficient lobbying is done with the powers that are.
A few politicians and ministers have expressed support for the new law because of its potential to create new jobs and generate a lot of tax revenues, which can then be used for the benefit of the community. Besides, some of the revenues generated from it can be used to create programs for treating people with gambling addiction. It remains to be seen whether the NDP will convince other lawmakers in this case.