CFL Commissioner Advocates for Online Sports Betting Market in Quebec
Randy Ambrosie, the Commissioner of the Canadian Football League (CFL), is calling on Quebec lawmakers to consider the establishment of a competitive online sports betting market in the province. Ambrosie believes that a framework similar to Ontario's would create a "level playing field" and help safeguard Quebec's unique culture. Currently, the only regulated online sports betting in the province is provided by Loto-Québec.
Ambrosie, along with other major sports leagues such as Major League Soccer and the National Basketball Association, recently renewed their appeal to Quebec to introduce its own private market for online sports betting. The proposal is to develop an iGaming framework similar to Ontario, where numerous private operators and suppliers are currently active.
In a recent statement, Ambrosie emphasized the CFL's deep appreciation for Quebec's unique history and culture. He highlighted the significant role sports, including the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, plays in the province. This is why the CFL is aligning with other leagues in urging the province to explore the advantages of a regulated iGaming sector.
Ambrosie emphasized that a new market would operate transparently, protect the integrity of competition, promote responsible gambling, and create a "level playing field" across the North American market. It would also present an opportunity for the province to safeguard and enhance its culture while benefiting the local population.
Earlier this year, the Quebec Online Gaming Coalition was formed, comprising leading online betting brands like Bet99, DraftKings, Flutter (parent company of FanDuel), Entain (part-owner of BetMGM), Betway, and BetRivers-owner Rush Street Interactive. These operators have successfully operated in established legal markets and are encouraging Quebec to adopt a similar approach.
Quebec, being the second-largest province by population in Canada, would become a significant market for private operators if it were to introduce a regulated iGaming sector. However, it remains uncertain whether the province's lawmakers will be swayed by these recent efforts.
In contrast, the province of Ontario has already begun to reap the rewards of its online gaming and sports betting market. Launched in April 2022, the province reported CA$35.6 billion in handled wagers and CA$1.4 billion in revenue in the first 12 months. These figures position Ontario among the top five markets in North America. Data shows that active player accounts spend approximately CA$70 per month. Attorney General Doug Downey has praised the success of the iGaming market, which has replaced the previous unregulated sector, making Ontario a leader in the industry.
The prospect of an online casino in Quebec, much like Ontario's unsuccessful launch, seems inevitable. The growing demand for online gaming and sports betting is difficult to ignore, and it's only a matter of time before Quebec embraces this industry, however, offering the players just around 70% of RTP. The experiences of other provinces, such as Ontario, have shown the immense revenue potential and benefits of a regulated online gambling market. While there may be concerns about lower RTP (Return to Player) rates or players being limited to crypto casinos, it's essential for regulatory authorities to prioritize player protection and fair play as they navigate this evolving landscape. Ultimately, the decision lies with Quebec's lawmakers, but the trend towards regulated online gaming continues to gain momentum across Canada.
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