Major North American leagues voice their support for single-event sports betting in Canada

single event sports betting legalisation in Canada

A number of major sporting leagues in North America have come together to publicly voice their support for single-event sports betting in Canada

Six sporting associations released a joint statement, in which they praised efforts to expand betting regulations within this vertical. 

Earlier this year, politicians also called for single-event sports betting to become legal in the North American country. 

At the moment, it’s believed that billions’ worth of Canadian dollars is being wagered with offshore betting sites on an annual basis. 

Regulated single-event sports betting in Canada would be safer for players

The National Hockey Association (NHL) was one of the six associations who expressed their desires for single-event betting in Canada to be regulated. They were joined by the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Soccer (MLS) and Canadian Gaming Association (CGA)

The other two organisations to voice their thoughts were Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Canadian Football League (CFL)

In their joint-statement, the organisations said the following. 

“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.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver signed the letter, as did Gary Bettman of the NHL. The MLS’ Don Garber, Rob Manfred of the MLB and Randy Ambrosie from the CFL also gave their signatures. 

Political support for single-event sports betting 

Earlier this year, Conservative MP Kevin Waugh sponsored Bill C-218 – also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act. 

He, like all of the above leagues, hopes that single-event betting will become regulated. Sports betting in Canada is currently allowed for slips that include three events or more, but not for anything below that.

Like the six sporting associations, Waugh also believes that illegal sports betting already takes place. As such, it makes sense for it to be regulated. His main argument was that the state would make more from tax revenue. 

“Let me be clear that single-event sport wagering already exists in this country, and if members do not think so, they are behind the curtains.  

“The Canadian single-event sport wagering industry is worth over $14 billion, but most of it, 95% of it, exists underground on the black market or through offshore websites.

“None of that activity is subject to government regulations or taxes; none of it is creating jobs in this country or economic opportunities; and none of it is contributing to consumer protection, education, harm reduction initiatives or support services, which are badly needed in this country.”

These comments were made prior to the peak of COVID-19. Considering what has happened over the past three months, one could argue that this additional money could aid post-pandemic economic recovery.