'Single sport betting would bolster Canadian economy'

Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli wrote to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau asking for an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada that would legalize single event sports wagering in Canada.

Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli speaks with media following meetings with federal, provincial and territorial counterparts in Ottawa, Monday Last week Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli wrote to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau asking for an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada that would legalize single event sports wagering in Canada.

The amendment is well overdue and is a political and economic winner for both governments and should be implemented immediately.

Fedeli is championing a change that protects consumers, creates jobs, increases gaming tax revenues, attracts American tourists to Canadian casinos and would hurt organized crime.

“It’s time to legalize single event sports wagering in Canada and we’re committed to working with the federal government to make it happen,” wrote Fedeli on Twitter.

Currently in Canada you cannot legally bet on a single sporting event like the World Cup or the Super Bowl.

Fedeli is leading the charge of several provinces who want the change.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford also sent out a tweet supporting the legalization of single events sports wagering. “Gaming can make a significant contribution to our economy. Our government wants to allow the people of Ontario to legally bet on single events like tonight’s @MapleLeafs game. @NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman thinks so too.”

Ford wrote “The @NHL, @NBA, @CFL and @MLS all agree – let’s regulate single game sports betting in a responsible manner to give consumers a legal alternative to illegal or offshore sports books and U.S.-based casinos.”

Legalizing single-event sports wagering is a simple change the Trudeau Liberals could make happen this spring before the next election.

This would stop criminals from taking advantage of the public, who are now given no other choices or options when it comes to single-event sports betting. It would also create much needed tax revenue for the provinces.

Readers should know my business partners and I currently have no clients with a financial interest in the single event sports betting industry. It is possible we could in the future if single sports betting becomes a reality.

Support for the change is broad based and also strong in Liberal-friendly union circles.

Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor and Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444 in Windsor, wrote in the Toronto Sun and National Post this week.

“For a government that wants to do anything and everything possible to secure Canadian jobs, amending legislation to allow for Single Sport Betting seems like the biggest no brainer of them all,” wrote Dias and Cassidy.

They went on to write, “It costs the federal government no money; it protects consumers by channeling current unregulated gaming into a regulated environment; it channels revenue, currently leaving the country, into the provincial governments and towards government programs; most importantly, it protects jobs and creates jobs. Michigan and New York are moving forward.”

Previously, professional sports leagues were opposed to single event sports wagering. Now many of the leagues support the legalization including the National Hockey League.

“The NHL believes that a level playing surface for sports betting is in the best interest of the NHL’s sports betting landscape. With two franchises in Ontario and two right on the border with the U.S., Ontario is a very important market for the NHL. Accordingly, the NHL does not object to the province of Ontario’s initiative to offer single event wagering when it is permitted,” wrote Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner.

Ford and Fedeli should be applauded for requesting a change that is long overdue and a sure bet to protect consumers and create jobs.

If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals don’t act this spring, then they also create an opportunity for opposition parties to make the popular issue part of their campaign platforms in 2019.