Proposed Change to Sportsbetting Law Up Against Blue Jays

Written By Janice Doughtrey

Gambling in Canada has served as a very controversial issue depending on where in the country you ask.  Laws vary by province and proponents both for and against further legalization continue to make their voices heard.  One such voice against a bill proposing single game sportsbetting is likely to gain widespread support from fellow opponents because that voice belongs to the President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Paul Beeston was one of the grand creators of the 1992-1993 World Series championship winning team.  Now he’s taking the power behind his name to the Senate committee currently debating the proposed bill.  Introduced by NDP MP Joe Comartin out of Windsor, Ontario; the bill seeks to update the sportsbetting laws to legalize single game wagers.  Currently gamers must bet on a minimum of three games in order to legally make a wager, which Comartin argues is outdated with today’s market.  He also says criminal organizations profit from providing illegal single game bets and updating the law will take away funding for crime rings.

But Beeston with MLB legal counselor Thomas Ostertag said legally allowing single game bets would increase the risk of players deliberately throwing games and compromise the integrity of North American sports leagues.

“Losing betters, or fans in general, may become suspicious of every strikeout or error, and the game’s integrity will be open to question, play-by-play, any given day.”

Ostertag said he had spoken with legal counsel of other professional sports leagues and hinted that together they would voice their objections to the Senate at a later date.

Both Beeston and Ostertag used the example of the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal as grounds for blocking single game betting legalization.  The scandal involved the Chicago White Sox threw away a chance to win the World Series due to bribes.