Sunday November 27,2011 : RACING GIANT GETS BEHIND CANADIAN SPORTS BETTING PROPOSAL (Update)
Comartin bill making good legislative progress
Canadian MP Joe Comartin's bill C-290, which seeks to legalise single game sports wagering in Canada continues to make progress, passing its second reading in the House of Commons earlier this month, and this week attracting the vocal support of horseracing giant Woodbine Entertainment Group.
Over the weekend, the Toronto Sun covered current developments, reporting that between Cdn$10 and Cdn$80 billion is wagered annually in Canada, on single-game sporting events, and that Comartin’s poin of departure is that such business should rightly be legalised, properly regulated and, of course, taxed.
The newspaper quotes Woodbine CEO Nick Eaves, who apparently sees sports wagering as a natural extension of his business and commented:
“Horse racing customers are sports bettors, generally. If it were an option, we are certainly of the belief that Woodbine and Mohawk are logical places for a sports betting facility from the standpoint of them being complementary businesses.
“WEG has been actively supportive of this proposed Bill and our position is that if sports betting is allowed, it should be included at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks.”
Comartin is on record as saying that casinos such as Windsor and Niagara Falls would be logical places for legalised sports books, along with Woodbine.
Eaves acknowledged that he had been in contact with Comartin to confirm the company’s interest in the venture.
“We’ve talked to him in order to express our support for the initiative,” Eaves said. “We want to be involved in a supportive way in the dialogue.”
The Toronto Sun observes that if the bill is passed, Woodbine will no doubt apply the argument that its facilities are already home to bettors and as such are a logical extension for sports betting.
Eaves confirmed this, saying: “We think it’s a natural fit. There has always been a strong partnership between racing and sports betting, much closer perhaps than other forms of gambling.”
The Toronto Sun considers the reaction of the punters to Comartin's measure, pointing out:
"As for sports betting, enough of the public, it seems, has grown wise to the brutal odds offered by provincial lotteries that require bettors to successfully pick multi-game parlays at a price far worse than what is offered by traditional bookmakers. It’s the reason so many have opened accounts rather than play the Ontario Lotteries and Gaming Corporation way."