Not all Canadians embracing Bills visit

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Not everybody in Canada is gung-ho about the NFL poking around.

A Canadian parliament member hopes to ward off the NFL with a repellant stronger than garlic to a vampire: legalized sports gambling.


Joe Comartin, a New Democratic Party representative from Windsor, Ontario, is proposing a bill that would allow sports books throughout Canada. His aim is to compete with the ever-increasing number of U.S. casinos.

Legal sports books would be detrimental to NFL expansion there because, as David Naylor of the Globe & Mail lays out in Wednesday morning's print edition, "there is ample evidence to believe the NFL might take a hard stand."

The Buffalo Bills agreed to play five regular-season and three preseason games in the Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome) through 2012. They are being paid $78 million so Toronto investors can showcase their city as NFL-worthy.

"I'm on that side that's opposed to having the NFL in Canada," Comartin told Naylor. "I think it would be the death knell of the CFL, and I'm strongly in favor of keeping the NFL out.

"The eight teams we've got now across the country have a more substantial value, economically and culturally, than one or two or three NFL teams would have."

Comartin didn't say whether NFL teams would be more attractive to him if they all agreed to change their names to the Roughriders.

This sports-betting bill won't pass easily. That the NFL is interested in doing business across the border -- Toronto would be the fourth-largest city in the U.S. -- might be making politicians apprehensive.

The NFL "might be one of the concerns they have, that they're worried it would dissuade the NFL from coming to Canada," Comartin said. "But I see that as a positive."

Anxious Bills fans would agree.