Canadian Football League's commission is urging Quebec lawmakers to look into a competitive market for online sports betting sites. Randy Ambrosie believes that a sector similar to Ontario's would create a ‘level playing field' and protect the province's unique culture. Currently, the only regulated online sports wagering is provided by Loto-Québec.
Last week, the CFL along with other major leagues, including Major League Soccer and the National Basketball Association once again urged to province to introduce its own private market for online sports betting. The idea is to have the province introduce an iGaming framework similar to the one in Ontario where numerous private operators and suppliers currently operate in.
In a recent statement, Mr. Ambrosie shared the CFL has a deep appreciation for the unique history and culture of the La Belle province. He mentioned that the league is aware of sports' crucial role in the province, including CFL's Montreal Alouettes brand. That is why CFL is joining other leagues in urging the province to fully explore the benefits of a regulated iGaming sector.
Mr. Ambrosie explained that the new market would not operate from the shadows and would protect the integrity of competition while also promoting responsible gambling. In his words, this would enable a ‘level playing field' across the North American market. It would also be an opportunity for the province to protect and bolster its culture and benefit the local population.
Earlier this year, the province saw the development of the Québec Online Gaming Coalition consisting of leading online betting brands such as Bet99, DraftKings, Flutter (parent company of FanDuel), Entain (part-owner of BetMGM), Betway, and BetRivers-owner Rush Street Interactive. These operators are up and running in leading legal markets and call for Quebec to launch a similar approach.
Quebec is the second largest province in terms of population in the country and it would be on par with some of the U.S. largest markets if introduced a regulated iGaming sector for private operators. That is why leading brands are interested in it. However, it remains unclear whether that the province's lawmakers would be convinced by the latest efforts.
Meanwhile, Ontario Reaps the Rewards
While Quebec lawmakers are still not firm on establishing a private sector for online gaming and sports betting, Ontario is reaping the rewards from it. Launched in April 2022, the province disclosed CA$35.6 billion in handled wagers which translated into CA$1.4 billion in revenue for the first 12 months. It placed the province in the top five markets on the continent.
As per provincial data, in the first year of legal iGaming, active player accounts spend around CA$70 every month. Attorney General Doug Downey said the iGaming market has successfully replaced the pre-existing unregulated one and made the jurisdiction a leader in the industry. He added that the government is pleased with the strong, responsible, and competitive model.
Source: Zochodne, Geoff “CFL: Competitive Sports Betting Market in Quebec Could Create ‘Level Playing Field,' Protect Culture” Covers, September 20, 2023