In Ottawa, Federal Liberals are opposing a bill that would legalize single-event sports Canadian betting. Debate over the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, also known as Bill C-221, started on Tuesday.
MP for Windsor West Brian Masse, who also tabled the Act, says that Liberals previously voted for a similar bill back in 2011. He also accused them of being flip-floppers and partisan.
“They switch their positions all the time, so it’s nothing new,” said Masse.
Masse went on to say that he thought at the very least that the bill supporters would get a free vote. If left up to the Liberals, that won’t happen anytime soon. Liberal MP Sean Casey says his main concern with the bill is that it could open a new can of worms and lead to even more gambling problems.
In a debate on Tuesday, Casey said that the government and senate shares the same concern that integrity of the sporting events could be compromised. If passed at some point, single-event sport betting would be allowed in provinces and territories.
While addressing the House of Commons, Casey said that the passing of the bill could encourage game fixing. “The current parlay system is not conducive to cheating because it would require multiple event rigging. Single betting only requires one event to be fixed.”
Gambling addiction also is far more likely to hurt individuals with lower incomes. A recent Ontario mental health study showed that although people living on the poverty level were more unlikely to engage in gambling, if they did, the usually developed more problems that those with higher incomes. “Opposing this bill means protecting individuals who are most susceptible to gambling problems,” said Casey.
Critics say that Liberals took the opposite stance last year. Previously, a similar version of the bill was supported by Liberals who said that it would stimulate the economy by creating jobs.
Casey said while he agrees that jobs would be created, the bad things outweigh the good. He went on to say that he is urging all members to vote against the bill.
Masse says Casey is just playing politics. He pointed out that Casey and other Liberals were in full support of the bill when Joe Comartin was the Liberal MP. “This is extremely frustrating because they obviously haven’t thought things through,” says Masse.
Casey rebuffed Casey’s comments and said his version isn’t entirely true. “There were some Liberals who voted for the bill but they still had problems with it.” The bill languished in the Senate for three years where it finally died.
The government will be opposing the bill for good reason, says Casey. “I’m only doing what I feel is best for the citizens of Windsor.”