The fight to change sports betting laws in Canada got hit with a large opponent this week in the form of Toronto Blue Jays President and CEO Paul Beeston. Beeston was one of the architects of the 1992 & 1993 championship winning Toronto Blue Jays teams. Citing the example of the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal where the Chicago White Sox threw their chances at winning the World Series due to bribes, Beeston believes allowing single game bets in Canada would undermine the integrity of Major League Baseball and all professional sports leagues.
Beeston said he sympathizes with the government’s need to determine new ways of generating revenue in the aftermath of the worldwide recession.
“The answer is not to compromise the integrity of professional sports by legalizing single-event sports gambling.”
Currently in Canada it is illegal to bet on less than three games at a time but a bill currently before the House of Commons seeks to change that. The bill has support from casino operators and gaming associations across the country and would allow provinces to set their own rules for betters to lay down money on individual games. It is also believed this type of legalization would cut out the profits that help fund organized crime.
But Beeston with support from MLB legal counsel Thomas Ostertag, speaking before the Senate committee currently debating the merits of the bill, said single game sportsbetting would increase risks of players deliberately throwing games.
“Losing betters, or fans in general, may become suspicious of every strikeout or error, and the game’s integrity will be open to question, play-by-play, any given day.”
They also believe that instead of helping to stop criminal betting, the bill would only increase problem gambling and disrupt the social climate of the country. Ostertag also said he had been in contact with the other major leagues in North America and are expected to jointly voice their objections before the Senate at a later date.