Federal Justice Minister David Lametti is expected to introduce legislation as soon as Thursday to legalize single-event sports betting in Canada — ending a decades-old prohibition on gambling that experts say has funnelled billions of dollars into the black market. The proposed government legislation, if passed, would allow gamblers to place a bet on the outcome of a single sports game, like a football match or a hockey game. Currently, sports bettors in Canada are limited to “parlay” bets — meaning they have to place bets on more than one game, and pick the winning team in each contest, to see any sort of windfall. The odds of a winning parlay bet are low. Canadians spend roughly $500 million a year on parlay bets through lottery games like Pro-Line. MPs from communities with large casinos — notably Windsor and Niagara Falls in Ontario — have been pushing the federal government to remove a single line in the Criminal Code that restricts gambling to parlays to give a boost to Canadian gambling operations, which face increasing pressure from foreign online outfits and U.S. casinos. Liberal MP Irek Kusmierczyk, who was elected last fall to represent Windsor-Tecumseh, said in a Facebook post Wednesday that he’s been “working hard since day one” to push the government to make the necessary Criminal Code changes, which could allow casinos like Caesars Windsor or racetracks like Toronto-based Woodbine to offer enhanced sports wagering. “Excited our government will be introducing single sports betting legislation this week,” he said in the post. “Total team effort.” A spokesperson for Lametti declined to comment on legislation that has not yet been introduced in Parliament. Paul Burns, the president of Canadian Gaming Association, said he’s happy that years of advocacy work by MPs and local communities finally pushed the government to stem the tide of wagered money moving offshore. “It’s just been a horrendous year for our businesses,” Burns said, adding pandemic-related health and safety measures have devastated in-person gaming at casinos and racetracks. “It doesn’t cost the federal government a thing but it gives us another product, another channel, to help us attract customers back to our businesses when it’s safe to do so.” There’s already a similar bill from Conservative Saskatchewan MP Kevin Waugh on the Commons order paper that would make it lawful for a provincially licensed entity to allow betting on a single sporting event or athletic contest. “Implementing this change would be a massive boost to the tourism, sports, and gaming sectors, as well as a significant win for the workers and communities that rely on them,” Waugh said, calling the legalization “common-sense.” “Though I’m encouraged by the government’s apparent support for this proposal, I remain skeptical of their commitment to making it a priority,” he said, adding he won’t withdraw his private member’s bill just yet to ensure the government proceeds with the amendment. While provinces and territories control gambling operations in Canada, all operators work within the limits of the federal Criminal Code, which addresses gambling regulations and laws. Burns said the expectation is that the government will simply replicate Waugh’s bill (it’s a single line) in its own legislation. Government legislation is often easier to pass in Parliament than private member’s bills because the government has more levers to pull to get bills through both houses of Parliament in a timely manner. NDP MP Brian Masse, who represents Windsor West, also introduced a private member’s bill in 2016 that would have made changes similar to those the Liberal government is now considering. The government voted against that legislation, citing major sports leagues’ claim that single-event betting might lead to match-fixing. But that opposition was blunted when sports leagues — including the NBA and NHL — partnered with U.S.-based casino operators like MGM Resorts to bolster sports betting in the U.S. As recently as January, a spokesperson for Lametti told CBC News that gambling law reforms were not an “immediate priority” for the minister. Canadians gamble $14 billion annually on sports events The pandemic has blown big holes in federal and provincial budgets and the legalization of this sort of betting could produce some much-needed government revenue. An estimated $14 billion in annual sports betting — $10 billion through the black market through bookies and $4 billion more through off-shore online outlets, according to figures from the Canadian Gaming Association — is wagered by Canadians via illegal channels beyond the regulatory control of the government. The biggest draw for these other outlets is the fact that they allow bettors to gamble on just one game. Federal and provincial governments don’t get a cut of the money flowing through these illegal channels, Burns said, and the legislative change will put Canadian casinos and gambling sites on an even playing field with those who already offer these bets illegally. “Sports betting is such a huge part of the online business. It will really just allow Canadian companies to compete. Everyone will have the same regulatory relationship,” Burns said. “It’s encouraging. The industry has been asking for this for over a decade. Substantial revenues flow to unregulated, illegal operations and offshore Internet sites without providing any financial benefits to Canadians.” A 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturned decades-old federal limits on sports betting in states other than Nevada. The result has been a push by state lawmakers — notably in New Jersey and border states like New York and Michigan — to legalize single-game bets at casinos and racetracks and online. Single-event legalization has unleashed a revenue boom for state coffers already. New Jersey casinos collected $4.5 billion in revenue last year alone. “Communities like Niagara and Windsor — they’re competing with sports betting across border. Now, they’ll have a new product to entice customers to come back to their properties when they’re able to do so, safely,” Burns said.
6-year-old Ontario boy wins colouring contest, inspires race car livery design – Driving
There is one car that looks a bit different than the others gathered for the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend.
The Era Motorsport No. 18 Oreca LMP2 has a livery that’s unlike any other in the world. And it has a unique Canadian connection: its designer is a 6-year-old boy from Whitby, Ontario.
The artist currently known as Owen entered the Era Motorsport colouring contest at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Originally, the plan was to bring the fan-designed car to Petit Le Mans in October of 2020, but as the virus spread, the IMSA season shrank and the contest was postponed.
Era says it received contest submissions from all around the world, but that Owen’s was the clear winner with its cleverly obvious use of the three primary colours — stripes of blue on the front and nose, a flurry of red in the middle, a yellow rear end, and a sick lightning bolt on the side.
We’re excited to reveal the winner of our livery design contest!
Era Motorsport to Run Special Livery Designed by Six-Year-Old Fan at Rolex 24: http://bit.ly/39Dc9F3
Owen is a third-generation race fan whose favourite things are racing and hockey. He says he chose the design because he likes the colours “and thunderbolts and flames are cool.”
“It’s all extra-special because my father-in-law inspired this love of racing in my hubby and my son,” says Amanda Morrow, Owen’s mother. “He’s currently in the hospital so this is keeping our spirits up a little.”
As part of the contest, Era Motorsports has also invited Owen and his father down to the U.S. for an IMSA event, hopefully later this year if and when travel restrictions are lifted.
The Era Motorsport No. 18 Oreca LMP2 “Crayon car” will debut on-track at the Roar Before the 24, today, in Daytona, Florida.
Cyberpunk 2077 gets its first major patch – Eurogamer.net
The long road to recovery for Cyberpunk 2077 continues with the release of the game’s first major patch.
This update, which brings Cyberpunk 2077 up to version 1.1, focuses on stability improvements as opposed to quality-of-life, balance or AI reworks. It’s under 10GB on PC, and just under 17GB on console.
The patch improves the game’s memory usage within its various systems (characters, interactions, navigation, in-game videos, foliage, laser effects, minimap, devices, AI, street traffic, environmental damage system, GPU-related, and more), and makes various crash fixes related to loading saves, game opening and closing and the Point of No Return, among other aspects.
(Cyberpunk 2077 displays a Point of No Return message just before you embark on its final mission, giving players the chance to wrap up any loose ends within Night City.)
There are a raft of fixes for quest and open world bugs. Of note, the patch addresses the issue responsible for saves getting oversized (related to the modifier indicating if the item is crafted), and trims the excess size from already existing saves. However, this won’t fix PC save files corrupted before the 1.06 update.
There are platform-specific tweaks, too:
- Performance optimisation of crowds on PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation 5.
- Various crash fixes on PlayStation 4.
- Improved memory usage for character creation, mirrors, scanning, camera remote control, menus (inventory, map) on Xbox One, Xbox One X and Xbox One S.
- It will now be possible to obtain achievements while in Steam offline mode. Note: Offline mode needs to be enabled before starting the game. This change does not work retroactively.
- Addressed the game startup crashes related to loading cache on Nvidia graphics cards.
- Concert audio should no longer be inaudible in Never Fade Away.
- Fixed corrupted textures on several melee weapons.
- Tweaked default deadzone settings to be more responsive. Note: the change will not affect settings unless they’re set to default.
Patch 1.1 is not the most spectacular (the patch notes in full are here), and some common bugs remain. Clearly, CD Projekt is focusing on crash issues and progress-stopping bugs, which have plagued the game – particularly on console – since launch.
Developer CD Projekt said it will continue to focus on stability improvements in patch 1.2 and other updates, while fixing bugs.
Last week, CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwiński said some of Cyperpunk 2077’s more notable post-launch content had been delayed in order for the studio to focus on salvaging the game. Free DLC updates, originally planned to arrive shortly after release, now won’t land until after critical problem areas have been addressed. The highly anticipated next-gen console update is due to launch in the second half of the year.
“We are treating this entire situation very seriously,” Iwiński said, “and are working hard to make it right”.
Cyberpunk 2077 has yet to return to sale on the PlayStation Store.
Apple working on high-end MacBook Air, bringing back SD card slot and more to the MacBook Pro range – Notebookcheck.net
For fans of Apple hardware, 2021 is shaping up as a big year in terms of new hardware announcements across the board. However, the range most likely to see the biggest revamps will be Apple’s Mac line as the company looks to take advantage of the thinner and lighter designs made possible by its outstanding new Apple silicon for Macs. We already knew that Apple is looking to introduce new designs for its 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, but it is now also looking to introduce redesigned high-end MacBook Air as well.
Although Apple updated the MacBook Air range late last year with the new Apple M1 SoC, it stuck with the current design. The redesign will be more high-end and feature a display with much narrower bezels. It will also be thinner and lighter and include four USB 4 ports, up from the two that are included on the current model. As with the forthcoming MacBook Pro range, it will also reintroduce a MagSafe charging solution. It will retain a 13-inch display size, although Apple did consider also introducing a 15-inch model as well before putting that idea on ice. Expect to see the new MacBook Air model in the second half of 2021.
As we recently reported, the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models due in the middle of the year will be dropping the controversial Touch Bar, picking up a MagSafe connector while also regaining a range of ports. Bloomberg is now also reporting that one of these new ports will be an SD card reader that was included in MacBook Pro models prior to the 2016 USB-C only redesign. While the USB-C port on the MacBook Pro models (which also included the versatile Thunderbolt 3 standard built into it), are incredibly versatile, many MacBook Pro users of 2016 models onwards have been forced to carry unsightly multi-port dongles around with them to help maintain their regular workflows.
Speed up vaccine rollout to LTC homes to prevent deaths, cases: advisory group says – 680 News
6-year-old Ontario boy wins colouring contest, inspires race car livery design – Driving
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April – Cowichan Valley Citizen
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