Bettman, Silver, Manfred urging Canada to legalize sports betting
Mike Stobe / National Hockey League / Getty

The commissioners of the five professional sports leagues operating in Canada have banded together to impel the federal government to allow single-game sports betting in the country, according to the Windsor Star's Dave Waddell.

On June 8, the NHL's Gary Bettman, NBA's Adam Silver, MLB's Rob Manfred, CFL's Randy Ambrose, and MLS's Don Garber signed and sent a joint statement to several key members of government.

"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," the statement said.

"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."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, and Attorney General of Canada Dave Lametti each received a copy of the statement. Other prominent members of government, including Ontario premier Doug Ford, were also sent a copy.

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

Professional sports leagues have taken a financial hit amid the coronavirus pandemic after all five operating in Canada were forced to halt play. The leagues have lost large sums on ticket sales from canceled games, and it's unclear how long it will be until spectators are permitted to once again attend venues.

MP Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon-Grasswood), alongside Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse, reintroduced a bill after Masse's private bill died at the cabinet level last year.

"The government can do this with an order of council like they did with the new gun control laws a month ago," Waugh said. "We'll be putting pressure on the government to get this done before Parliament finishes June 17."

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Bettman, Silver, Manfred urging Canada to legalize sports betting
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