Game On for Ontario Sports Betting: CFL Players Ratify Agreement with League

Game On for Ontario Sports Betting: CFL Players Ratify Agreement with League
By Mark Keast

CFL players ratified a new seven-year collective bargaining agreement with the league Thursday night, so it’s full steam ahead on the upcoming season.

This will be the first season with a fully regulated Ontario sports betting market.

There was a tentative deal announced last week, then over the weekend players rejected the deal. The league’s preseason will now open on time Friday night. The first game is the Toronto Argonauts against the Ottawa Redblacks at 7:30 p.m.

Said league commissioner Randy Ambrosie in a statement: “We are pleased that players have now ratified a new collective bargaining agreement between the CFL and CFLPA. The CFL's board of governors will conduct its ratification vote shortly. We look forward to a successful season — including preseason games this weekend — and a long and productive partnership with our players.”

Several sportsbooks, led by BetRegal (still be licensed) and PointsBet Canada, had real skin in the game. BetRegal is the Official Sport Gaming Partner of the CFL and was front and centre at last year’s Grey Cup, introducing betting concepts and terminology to people there looking to learn more.

PointsBet Canada has a partnership deal with the Redblacks.

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TheScore Bet Launches Responsible Gambling Campaign

A quick glance at the iGaming Ontario site confirms there are 24 regulated sites in Ontario currently. The AGCO list of registered internet gaming operators shows 36 licenses. So it’s a highly fragmented and fiercely competitive market, as was predicted going into the April 4 opening.

Betting responsibly is a focus for operators that are live, and theScore Bet this week launched a new ad campaign called “BET MODE RESPONSIBLY,” which features comedian Susie Essman, actor Rex Lee and Toronto’s Gerry Dee offering “Smart Tips to Bet Responsibly from Not-So-Smart-People.”

The three portray the same characters seen in the company’s “GET INTO BET MODE” marketing campaign, only this time they’re providing tips for betting responsibly.

The campaign introduces theScore Bet’s “Smarter Betting Hotline,” which can be accessed by dialing 1-888-SCOR-BET. The hotline offers key responsible gaming tips, like setting time and spending limits, and not betting when stressed or upset.

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'An Interactive and Entertaining Way'

“Responsible gaming and player education is embedded into our entire operation and it was important to us to roll out a dedicated RG campaign in connection with our Ontario launch,” Aubrey Levy, theScore Bet senior vice president for marketing and content, said in a news release. “While helping those with gambling problems is a core component of a responsible gaming program, RG is also about educating the market at large on how to keep gaming fun and playing responsibly. 

“As with our overall campaign, we wanted to deliver that message in a way that is authentic and engaging, resulting in this campaign taking a different approach from the more traditional RG communications people are used to seeing. Utilizing our well-known BET MODE characters, we’re aiming to promote RG and player education in an interactive and entertaining way.”

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Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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