Three professional sports leagues are calling for Quebec to establish a regulatory framework to license numerous private sports betting brands in the province. The Canadian Football League, Major League Soccer, and the National Basketball Association urge the La Belle Province to follow Ontario’s example and introduce a similar market for third-party brands.
The efforts are headed by Québec Online Gaming Coalition, a group that contains several online operators which are currently not allowed to offer legal sports betting in the province. In May 2023, the coalition proposed a framework similar to that of Ontario, where numerous third-party operators can lawfully accept and offer online casino and sports betting to local players.
Sports Leagues Call for Opening of the iGaming Market
At the moment the only legal online gambling in the province is offered via Loto-Québec. However, CFL, MLS, and NBA want to change that as they have joined the coalition which urges the province to create a new regulatory framework, such a model would allow the province to license private sports betting brands to join the regulated market.
The CFL was a proponent of decriminalizing single-event wagering which became a reality in 2021. Its’ Commissioner Randy Ambrosie calls for Quebec lawmakers to fully explore the positives of introducing a regulated playing environment, which will not be operating in the shadows. In his words, it would also protect the integrity of the competition and promote responsible play.
The NBA is also in favour of Quebec opening its iGaming sector to outside operators. A spokesperson for the association, Mike Bass commented that if Quebec’s government wanted to launch an open and lawful market, the NBA would support the initiative, in the same way that it has supported the introduction of Ontario’s open and competitive internet gambling.
Members of the coalition include popular gaming brands such as Bet99, DraftKings, Flutter Entertainment, Entain, Betway, and Rush Street Interactive. However, it is not enough to convince the province yet. A Loto-Québec representative said the leagues should question the coalitions’ true intentions and claimed some coalition members are illegally taking bets from Quebecers.
Ontario’s Market is Doing Well
In the meantime, Ontario’s iGaming market continues to reap success. Recently, the province shared its financial report for the first quarter of 2023-2024. It reported CA$14 billion in online wagering and CA$545 million in gaming revenue. There were 46 operators online, which ran 71 gaming websites. There were 920k active user accounts, which had an average monthly spend of CA$197.
However, the increase in iGaming’s popularity led to an influx of betting ads from private operators. That is why the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario recently banned the use of active or retired athletes in gambling ads and endorsements. This is due to the fact that such figures usually appeal to the younger demographics.
Source: Zochodne, Geoff “Report: Three Leagues Supporting Sports Betting Expansion in Quebec” Covers, September 15, 2023