Federal Liberals oppose betting on single sporting events in Canada

The bill seeks to let provinces and territories allow betting on single sporting events.

The party announced they will oppose a private member’s bill that would legalise betting on single sporting events in the country.

Canada.- Federal Liberals expressed they will oppose a private member’s bill to legalise betting on single sporting events in Canada. The party said it will vote against Bill C-221, known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, introduced by Brian Masse, the MP for Windsor West. Masse said the NDP and the bill’s supporters including several Canadian chambers of commerce and Unifor, believed that “we would get a free vote, at the very least.”

Currently, gamblers must bet on a minimum of three games, otherwise known as a parlay bet. This means gamblers need to correctly predict the outcome of all three games to win. The proposed bill would let provinces and territories allow betting on single sporting events.

“The government will be opposing the bill,” said Sean Casey, Liberal MP for Charlottetown and the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice and attorney general. “It is possible, as suggested by many sports leagues, that legalising single-event sports betting could encourage gamblers to fix games. The current parlay system of betting makes it unattractive to fix a game, because the only way to achieve a guaranteed payout would be to rig multiple events, which would be much more difficult to accomplish. Single-event sports betting would make a fraudster’s task easier, since only one event would need to be fixed.”

“The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health reported an Ontario study that found that people with incomes of less than $20,000 per year were the least likely to gamble. However when they did, they were more likely to experience problems than those in higher income brackets,” also noted Casey. “These statistics indicate that the cohort of Canadians in the lower income bracket who gamble are the most vulnerable for experiencing problem gambling issues. Opposing this bill means protecting our most vulnerable citizens.”

“While I appreciate that many would see these changes as a welcome way to stimulate the economy and to fund provincial activities, I do not believe that it should be supported,” Casey added. “As such, I would ask members to join me in opposing this private member’s bill.”