CFL sees legalization of one-game sports betting as unprecedented opportunity to “improve revenues”


CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie Photo: Johany Jutras

By Justin Dunk

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie believes that legalizing sports betting on a game in Canada can increase league revenues in ways that have never been possible before.

Ambrosie presented the CFL case to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Commerce and Commerce on Wednesday evening. The ability to place bets on individual football matches enjoys the full support of the league and the nine member franchises.

“We do not believe we have seen an opportunity to increase revenues to a degree as we have seen and we see it in this Bill C-218. Perhaps a unique opportunity to increase revenue at a time when we desperately need it, ”Ambrosie said.

“This is perhaps one of the greatest opportunities the Canadian Football League has faced and it couldn’t come at a better time. We have been through a very difficult environment with the COVID pandemic, we see this as a recipe for a faster recovery as we come out of it. “

The league lost between $ 60 million and $ 80 million last year after the cancellation of the 2020 season following the denial of a $ 30 million interest-free loan by the federal government. Like other Canadian companies, Ambrosie conceded that the league had been “significantly affected” by the coronavirus, but did not provide a figure for the estimated economic impact Bill C-218 could have on the LCF.

The President of the Canada Games Association, Paul Burns, estimates that more than $ 7 billion would immediately flow into the legal market and that over the next five years that amount could reach around $ 28 billion and more. . The CFL could see a substantial amount of this money coming in if Bill C-218 is approved.

“Canada has had legal sports betting for decades – it’s time to level the playing field. It’s time to give Canadian gambling operators the ability to offer the same product in a legal, licensed and highly regulated environment. . And for the benefits to flow to our communities and the public good, ”said Burns.

Each year, Canadians bet approximately $ 500 million through legal sports lottery products offered by the provinces. If one-game sports betting is legalized, Burns estimates that more than $ 1 billion in revenue could flow to lottery companies.

In 1985, the federal and provincial governments agreed that the provinces would have the exclusive right to operate and regulate gambling within their territory. Over the past 35 years, provincial governments have strived to create safe and highly regulated gambling environments, implementing world-class responsible gambling programs.

“It is only by regulating single-event sports betting that we can be sure that consumers are protected, that athletes and sports are protected, that the economic benefits remain in the provinces in which they are generated, and that Canadian companies can compete on a playing field level, ”said Burns.

Each year, Canadians place more than $ 4 billion in bets with online sports betting abroad and around $ 10 billion with bookmaking operations run by organized crime. This proves that Canadians love to bet on sports. Burns sees potential growth go beyond current betting and much of the illegal market becomes legal and regulated.

“This legislation is long overdue, it is long overdue and it should be reviewed quickly before the summer recess,” Ambrosie said. “With the possibility of a fall election in the news, we are concerned that a delay means this bill could die on the Order Paper.”

If Bill C-218 passes by July 16, which is the Senate’s summer recess date, Burns predicts that legal sports betting will be ready to take bets by the long weekend. September. It would give a whole new meaning to the CFL motto: The season doesn’t start until Labor Day.

Read the original article in 3 Down Nation by Justin Dunk.

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