The Canadian Football League is putting tons of effort and technology into ensuring the integrity of games, but when it comes to coaches and players, following gambling rules can be as easy as using common sense. This week, Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea noted that players and coaches are told not to bet on the league and those are pretty simple rules to follow.
Mr. O’Shea’s interview was from the media day for the 110th edition of the Grey Cup which takes place on Sunday, November 19, 2023, in Hamilton, Ontario. Estimations find that a single game of the CFL draws plenty of interest and can attract more than CA$6M in wagering, meaning that the league’s championship final could interest even more bettors.
It is Common Sense, Claim Players and Coaches
The upcoming Grey Cup arrives on the back of a recent NFL-related gambling scandal and the CFL is trying to ensure that something similar will not happen in Canada. In an interview, Blue Bombers left tackle Stanley Bryant, said that at the end of the day, it was common sense not to bet on the CFL games while being a player or a coach, and that it was quite obvious.
Meanwhile, Montreal Alouettes head coach Jason Maas noted that following sports-betting-related guidelines for players was not his focus, but said that the matter is quite black-and-white. He remarked that if a player wants to play in the league, then they should not bet on its games. Mr. Alouettes said that they are all adults in the league, and they should all follow the rules.
However, this may not be this obvious to everyone, as sports betting has risen quite a bit in popularity and teams now even cooperate with sportsbooks and have them on their jerseys. That is why the league and its teams are putting more time into ensuring players are aware of the rules around wagering, gambling, and the CFL’s match-manipulation provision.
As stated, CFL has already brought in as partners some popular betting brands, including FanDuel. This June, the operator and the league announced their agreement, making the sportsbook an official bookmaker partner to the league. The collaboration allowed the operator to enhance enhancing CFL experience by launching a variety of in-game player props and more.
But FanDuel is not the only gambling brand to team up with the league. In September 2023, CFL signed another important strategic partnership with 888, making it its latest official authorized gaming operator and advertising partner in Ontario. Via the deal, the two launched 888 Rivalry Games, which are marquee matchups with some of the league’s biggest games.
League Keeps a Close Tab for Potential Betting Violations
CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie shared that the league’s partners monitor for suspicious betting activity, and even resort to algorithms to detect betting patterns. He claims the system is working well, and experts also agree. However, he noted that the league must be on alert for game manipulation or betting from players as it would be a major issue.
Source: Zochodne, Geoff “CFL Players Take ‘Common Sense’ Approach to Sidestep Sports Betting Snafus” Covers, November 15, 2023