Article published on 2 February 2010

MP Pushing to Legalize Sports Betting in Canada

MP for Windsor-Tecumseh, Joe Comartin wants to legalise sports betting
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The NDP MP for Windsor-Tecumseh, Joe Comartin, is pushing for the legalization of sports betting in Canada, it was announced.

Comartin told media outlets that he was working with the Canadian Gaming Association, as well as the Canadian Auto Workers Union to have the law changed that would allow single event sports betting.

Comartin believes that since sports betting is taking place anyway, the Canadian economy may as well benefit from the revenues that this pastime generates.

"The betting is going on at this point, illicitly," he said.

"The vast majority of the money that is bet, is bet online. It's illegal. And that money is going out of the country," he added.

Comartin's objective is also the save the struggling casino in Windsor, Ont. and he believes that legalizing sports betting will attract US players to the region.

"Americans would certainly come to Windsor just for the sports betting, and then hopefully they'll bring other people with them," he said.

This is not Comartin's first attempt to push for changes in the Canadian Code. A private member's bill was introduced in 2008, but did not advance due to federal elections.

According to Comartin, only a single phrase in the Criminal Code of Canada (207.1(4)(b)) needs to changed in order to move forward.

At present, he is not getting the full support he needs from the Conservatives. "We're frustrated, because we're getting no negatives from the Conservative government but they won't move on it," he said.

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