SBD/October 26, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB Attempting To Stop Bill In Canada Legalizing Single-Event Sports Betting

MLB is "making a late-stage attempt to stop a private member’s bill on Parliament Hill that would legalize betting on single sporting events in Canada, warning this will increase the incentive to fix the outcome of games and create more gambling addicts," according to Steven Chase of the GLOBE & MAIL. The legislation would "remove the Criminal Code prohibition against wagering on single sporting events, opening the door for provinces to introduce this type of gambling on races, fights or games." Two senior MLB execs "appeared before a Senate committee Wednesday to caution parliamentarians they are making a big mistake." Blue Jays President & CEO Paul Beeston said, "The legalization of single-event sports betting by any government would increase the chances that persons gambling on games will attempt to influence the outcome of those games." Parliment member Michael Chong said that NHL representatives indicated to him that they "also wish to appear before the Senate committee to express their opposition" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/25). Beeston said, "Major League Baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays sympathize with the need of governments to increase revenues. The answer is not to compromise the integrity of professional sports by legalizing single-event sports gambling" (POSTMEDIA NEWS, 10/24). The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts notes reaction from the major North American pro leagues "ranged from indecision to resignation mixed with anger to active opposition." NBA Commissioner David Stern said, "We accept the status quo and understand that governments who are basically hungry for money will do just about anything regardless of its demonstrated impact on its citizens." Stern indicated that the federal legislation "is so close to being passed, with no significant opposition, there may be no point in trying to fight it." He said, "In the face of a bill that's going to be passed we'd have to look at whether we're going to waste the government's time by making a sort of perfunctory trip up there. We'll have to examine it and see where it goes." But MLB still is "making a belated attempt to thwart the bill." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said, "I do not think it is healthy for the sport in any way, shape or form" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/26).
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