Aspirations to introduce legal sports betting in Canada have been given a major fillip from the major sporting leagues who have issued a joint statement calling for prompt action to allow single-event sports wagering.

The missive, which was sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Attorney General of Canada and Justice Minister Dave Lametti, was signed by the NBA’s Adam SilverNHL’s Gary Bettman; MLB’s Rob Manfred; MLS’s Don Garber; and the CFL’s Randy Ambrosie.

Short and direct, the statement read: “The National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and the Canadian Football League support an amendment to Canada’s federal laws that would authorize provinces to offer betting on single sporting events. 

“Sports betting gives fans another exciting way to engage with the sports they love. Because a legal and regulated sports betting market in Canada would be beneficial to sports and their fans, we urge prompt action to make this a reality. 

“Sports betting already happens illegally in Canada; creating a legal framework would shift consumers from illicit, unregulated markets to a legal and safe marketplace. Regulating single-game betting would allow for strong consumer protections as well as safeguards to further protect the integrity of sports.”

Responding to the development was Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse who has long been an advocate for a change in the law. Quoted in the Windsor Star he said: “It’s an amazing coming together over a long period of time that shouldn’t go unnoticed by the prime minister and those interested in ending fraudulent gaming.

“It’s a vindication of what needed to be done a decade ago. It shows Canada is now an outlier in regards to single-event sports betting.”