Masse Welcomes Single Event Sports Betting, Urges Provincial Action

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The Liberals cannot take the credit that single-event sports betting has finally become law in Canada, said Windsor West MP Brian Masse.

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Masse stood near a set of doors at Caesars Windsor on Friday to welcome Bill C-218, the private member’s bill that officially legalizes Canadian gambling at a single sporting event.

“It was interesting to see the Liberals take a winning lap by just tabling a bill and then ditching it,” Masse, an NDP, told media.

“Thank goodness I had an interest from (Tory MP) Kevin Waugh. Thank goodness we worked hard to draft the legislation and keep it (alive).”

Masse highlighted the bill’s decade-long journey, which he attributes to the original private member’s bill and the advocacy of NDP MP Joe Comartin, former MP for Windsor-Tecumseh.

Masse noted that single-event sports betting could have become law sooner had it not been for crucial cases of lack of support from federal Liberals – including the Prime Minister.

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Entrance to the Caesars Windsor Casino and Hotel in Windsor, Ontario.  Photographed August 27, 2021.
Entrance to the Caesars Windsor Casino and Hotel in Windsor, Ontario. Photographed August 27, 2021. Photo by Dalson Chen /Windsor Star

“It was the typical power forces in Ottawa that basically tried to bring this down,” Masse said. “But at the end of the day, people won… That’s the real story about it. We won despite Ottawa.

Following the new law, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation on Friday launched “Proline +”: an online platform for single-event betting on league sports such as baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer, as well as tennis, golf, boxing and MMA.

But provincial regulations have yet to be established to allow casinos such as Caesars Windsor to enforce the law and offer single-event betting on their premises.

Dana Dunphy, worker president of Caesars Windsor represented by Unifor Local 444, speaks at the entrance to Caesars Windsor on August 27, 2021.
Dana Dunphy, Caesars Windsor worker president represented by Unifor Local 444, speaks at the entrance to Caesars Windsor on August 27, 2021. Photo by Dalson Chen /Windsor Star

Behind Masse on Friday gathered members of Unifor Local 444, which represents approximately 2,200 workers at Caesars Windsor.

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Dana Dunphy, president of Caesars Windsor workers represented by Unifor Local 444, thanked Masse for standing by their side and advocating for their interests during the many years that the issue has been debated.

“(Bill C-218) means more potential jobs here in Windsor, and more options for our clients,” she said. “This will allow us to be competitive in this tough market – especially being a border town, with three casinos across the river.”

“Our members need this to be operational now. We can’t wait any longer. Michigan has already implemented single-event sports betting. “

Labor leader Ken Lewenza Sr. speaks at the entrance to Caesars Windsor while Windsor West MP Brian Masse (right) watches.  Photographed August 27, 2021.
Labor leader Ken Lewenza Sr. speaks at the entrance to Caesars Windsor while Windsor West MP Brian Masse (right) watches. Photographed August 27, 2021. Photo by Dalson Chen /Windsor Star

Labor leader Ken Lewenza Sr. was also present on Friday to praise Masse. The former CAW national president said he recalled discussing the issue with Masse over 10 years ago.

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“The hard work of Brian Masse, the hard work of the New Democrats… has now come to life,” Lewenza said. “For us, it’s about jobs.

Regarding the federal Liberal government’s approval of the bill, Lewenza was dismissive.

“The Liberals cannot take credit for this,” Lewenza said. “The reality is that they had many opportunities to pass this law years ago – and they refused to do so.”

  1. Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse stands outside Caesars Windsor on August 21, 2020 and discusses the impacts of prorogation of Parliament on Windsor.

    Single-event sports betting approved by the House of Commons

  2. Legends at Caesars Windsor, shown in this file photo, may feature some unique sports betting in the near future.

    Single-event sports betting gets Senate green light

  3. Windsor West NDP candidate Brian Masse speaks to the media about the future of unique sports betting in Canada at a press conference near Caesars Windsor in October 2015.

    One-match sports betting bill to be enacted, provincial regulations await

Windsor West MP Lisa Gretzky criticized the Ontario Conservative government for its “silence” on the issue.

“The best Premier Doug Ford has come up with so far is to say it could happen in December. That the province consider making the regulatory changes in December. And that’s just not enough, ”Gretzky said.

Masse said it was time for Canada to have the opportunity to “grow up on responsible gambling.”

The legalization of single-event sports betting is removing the industry from “organized crime and off-shore bookmaker accounts,” Masse said, while creating new jobs at places like Caesars Windsor.

But these new jobs will not appear until the province has the regulations for such betting. “There is still work to be done,” Masse said.

An exterior view of the Caesars Windsor Casino and Hotel in Windsor, Ontario.  Photographed August 27, 2021.
An exterior view of the Caesars Windsor Casino and Hotel in Windsor, Ontario. Photographed August 27, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

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