Niagara Falls’ Wayne Gates, Windsor West’s Lisa Gretzky, and Windsor-Tecumseh’s Percy Hatfield have sent a joint letter to Premier Ford about immediate action on Bill C-218’s passage. The MPPs requested Mr. Ford to take advantage of the bill and ensure that the legislation would provide immediate job creation opportunities to the provincial residents.
Last week, Bill C-218, introduced by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh has been officially passed at the Canadian Senate. The bill is now pending for a Royal Assent to become an actual law, and its passing would allow Canadians to place wagers on individual sporting events on officially regulated provincial platforms and casinos.
According to the MPPs’ letter, the passing of Bill C-218 creates a fantastic opportunity for gaming communities that operate casinos and border the United States as can create thousands of jobs. Once the bill receives royal assent, provinces will be tasked with creating a provincial framework in order to make the gaming expansion a reality.
The letter continued by stating that the local government must move quickly in order to implement all necessary regulatory and legislative changes to introduce single-event wagering in Ontario. The MPPs believe that the change would allow the province to further enhance its influence in the region as the competition is already a few steps ahead.
Additionally, the MPPs claim that Niagara and Windsor’s gaming facilities are eager to provide spaces that will deliver single-sports betting offerings. The letter also states that another property that can benefit from the change is the Fort Erie race track that can take advantage of the legislation and provide new job positions and more revenue to the smaller border communities.
Emily Hogeveen, a spokesperson for Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said that the province would welcome Bill C-218. According to her, locals spent over CA$110 million annually on illegal sports betting, and a huge portion of it is on single events. She concluded by stating that the local government will work with the federal government and many stakeholders to make sure that the new changes are adopted in a safe and responsible way.
Praise for the Bill
The horse racing industry of Ontario is extremely pleased with its position after the bill’s passage of the Senate. Woodbine Entertainment’s President and CEO Jim Lawson stated that the company is delighted with its position in the single-sports betting directive. Mr. Lawson stated the company has plenty of experience as single-sports betting is currently available only on harness races in the country.
Days before the official passing of the bill, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake voiced its objections against the legislation. The tribal company is alarmed that if the bill passes without its inclusion, this could have a negative effect on its long-term wellbeing. Additionally, the tribe stated that its exclusion means that the corporation will not have control over its own future.
Source: Spiteri, Ray “Provincial plan ‘urgently needed’ for single-game sports betting”, Niagara Falls Review, June 25, 2021