Domino effect… CGA wants Canada to pop next for sports betting

Paul Burns – CGA

Canada’s pro sports betting lobby has been reinvigorated by this week’s US Supreme Court repeal of PASPA federal laws.

Following Monday’s SCOTUS judgement, the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) issued a fast response welcoming PASPA’s repeal, which will open the US to state-sanctioned sports betting.

CGA governance will now push Canada’s governing Liberal Party, to review the nations gambling code following the repeal, which will have significant consequences on all Canadian sports.

Issuing a statement Paul Burns the President of CGA detailed: “While this is encouraging news for US operators, it further reinforces that the Canadian Parliament needs to act.”

“Sports betting is a product enjoyed by millions of Canadians who spend billions illegally to access it. Provinces requested a simple amendment to our criminal code seven years ago, which would have provided greater regulatory oversight and control to sports wagering to protect consumers, athletes, and the integrity of sport. This request has fallen on deaf ears.”

With bipartisan support, Canadian pro-betting stakeholders have looked to introduce a number of sports betting bills, updating Canada’s gambling framework to allow for ‘single sports wagering’ (pre-event betting) to replace the nation’s existing parlay wagering system (betting pools).

In 2016, developed by Windsor MP Brain Masse, ‘Bill C-221 – The Safe & Regulated Sports Act’ was propositioned to introduce sports betting within licensed Canadian gambling premises.

Nevertheless, Masse’s mandate would fail to progress past its Ottawa House of Commons reading, as governing Liberal Party MPs moved to oppose C-221 motions.

The failure of C-221 would lead pro-betting supporters to state that ‘a Canadian sports betting agenda was dead in the water’.

As the US neighbours, Canada’s sports scene has been dominated by US pro-league franchises that to date have strongly opposed all sports betting mandates.

At present Canada hosts seven active NHL franchises, with the US hockey league having been a long-term adversary to changing Canada’s gambling framework.  However, following this week’s groundbreaking judgement, the NHL issued the following statement;

“We will review our current practices and policies and decide whether adjustments are needed, and if so, what those adjustments will look like. It’s important to emphasise that the Supreme Court’s decision has no immediate impact on existing League rules relating to sports wagering, and particularly, wagering involving NHL games. So, while changes may be considered in the future, today’s decision does not directly impact the operation of the League or any of our clubs in the short term.”

Put simply for Canadian sports betting stakeholders, PASPA’s repeal and the introduction of initial state betting frameworks will be beyond an ‘American agenda’.

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