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Ottawa willing to abandon month-old sports pool

Canada's federal government has tentatively agreed to scrap the controversial sports betting pool it launched last month to finance the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

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Ottawa agreed Friday to keep out of the sports pool business until 2000, if Canada's 10 provinces will agree to hand over about $1.6 billion in US dollars from their highly profitable lotteries. The deadline for an agreement is July 27 .

The pool was opposed by Canada's provinces, which said it violated a 1979 agreement in which the federal government agreed to leave holding of lotteries to the provinces. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn also challenged the pool, saying it harmed the family image of baseball.

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