The case against C-290

Michael Chong explains why he opposes the sports betting bill.

Finally, single game betting undermines the integrity of professional and amateur sport. There has not been a major betting scandal in North America since Major League Baseball created the Commissioner of Baseball in response to the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. In Europe, where single game betting is legal, sport is rife with game-fixing scandals. Professional leagues, along with the NCAA (of which Simon Fraser University is a member), will take a tough line on Canada if this bill passes. The NCAA bans all championships in jurisdictions where single game betting is legalized.

A very different, and perhaps the most important, reason for the Senate to defeat this bill is process. The Globe and Mail reported that “this bill was passed unanimously by the House.” In fact, a number of MPs, myself included, are opposed to this bill. In a highly unusual occurrence, debate on this bill collapsed and it passed through all stages without a standing vote. To my knowledge, no opposition private members’ bill has ever passed through the House of Commons in this manner. For this reason, a defeat of this bill would not be inconsistent with the wishes of the House, as those wishes were never properly recorded in a vote.

I suppose it depends on your definition of “major,” but the last century of North American pro sports isn’t quite clean: including Pete Rose, Tim Donaghy, Alex Karras and Paul Hornung and various NCAA point-shaving scandals.

Senator David Braley, who owns the B.C. Lions and the Toronto Argonauts, supports the bill.