Last week in Canada, Bill C-218, which would "make it lawful for the government of a province, or a person or entity licensed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of that province, to conduct or manage a lottery scheme in the province that involves betting on a race - other than a horse race - or fight, or on a single-sport event or athletic contest," continued to moved forward and is scheduled to be referred back to the Senate this week.

According to estimates, single-event online sports betting in Canada could generate between $3.8 and $5.4 billion in annual gross revenue.

But the Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) community of Kahnawake is working hard behind the scenes to stop the bill, saying it could "threaten the economic future of the Indigenous community on Montreal's South Shore and lead to potential match-fixing scandals."

From CVT News in Montreal:

Kahnawake has developed an online gaming economy through its Mohawk Online platform, which has operated Sports Interaction a sports betting, casino and poker game site, for the past six years.

In that time, MCK Chief Michael Delisle Jr. said Mohawk Online has been able to generate tens of millions of dollars for his community and funded language programs and local business initiatives, in addition to providing COVID-19 relief cheques to community members who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

All of those community benefits will be threatened if Canada doesn't recognize Kahnawake's industry, he said.

Any other Indigenous community thinking of taking advantage of the same opportunity would have to operate in the grey zone, outside the Canadian legal system, unless Bill C-128 is amended, he said.

The MCK is calling for the term "Indigenous governing body" added to the definitions section of the criminal code so that it can administer its own gaming industry without provincial approval.

"We've been pushing very hard to be able to get heard on this bill and it's been really difficult," said Deer, who added that a Friday Senate session gave her little hope that Canadian senators were hearing the community's issues with the bill.

"It was extremely disappointing to know that they were just so dismissive of what we were proposing and didn't even want to consider it," said Deer.
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