Canadian Gaming Association Suggests NHL, Professional Sports Should Think Twice Before Opposing Single-Event Sports Wagering In Canada

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Professional sports overlooking positive impact of enhanced protections offered by Bill C-290

TORONTO, ON, November 6, 2012 – The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) is wondering why the NHL and other professional leagues feel it necessary to travel to Ottawa to oppose the decriminalization of single-event sports wagering.

Bill C-290, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code – Sports Betting to permit single-event sports wagering in Canada, passed third reading in the House of Commons with all-party support, and has been before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for the last several weeks.

“Expert witnesses have had nothing but praise for this bill,” said Bill Rutsey, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association. “They recognize that only a small portion ($450 million) of the $10 billion being wagered by Canadians is wagered through provincial sports lottery products, which means that Canadians are turning to offshore sports books or illegal bookmakers.”

Arguments have already been made about positive impact that a sports book would have for game integrity and that allowing single-style betting would offer greater customer protections. The current law was written before the Internet existed and has not kept pace with the evolution of the sports industry, technology, or the appetite of sports bettors.

“I find it puzzling that the leagues are willing to surrender billions of dollars to criminals and allow further billions to head offshore,” stated Mr. Rutsey. “This could certainly make a difference supporting programs like health care and education, and creating jobs.”

But since the NHL has decided to come to Ottawa to talk about why updating an antiquated law that essentially forces Canadians to use nefarious means to bet on the outcome of a single sporting event is wrong, it might be useful in turn to examine why their position is shaky at best.