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Can Canada Take Lessons From European Nations Who’ve Legalised Sports Betting?

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Can Canada Take Lessons From European Nations Who’ve Legalised Sports Betting?
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Canada is another step closer to legalizing single-event sports betting, with a new bill proposing to overturn a federal ban on this kind of wagering recently securing approval in the House of Commons.

Currently, Canadian law only allows for parlay bets, meaning wagers must be placed on multiple selections, all of which have to come good for the parlay to win. If Bill C-218 becomes law, however, the market will potentially be opened up to sportsbooks offering single-event bets. It will signal the start of a new era, just as the overturning of a similar federal law in the US did in 2018.

Although technically outlawed, single-event gambling has not been impossible in Canada. Speaking in parliament, MP Kevin Waugh pointed out that single-event sports gambling is a $14 billion dollar industry in Canada, with the money going into the pockets of off-shore betting sites and black market bookies.

Summing up the problem with illegal betting, Waugh said, “There are no consumer protections in place. There are no problem gambling programs offered and no guidelines that bookmakers are required to follow. This also means that the economic benefits are not being felt by Canadians.”

While Canada may be poised to enjoy a big cash injection through the legalisation of single-event sports betting, what about the issues that come with opening up legal gambling? Canada will inevitably want to look at other nations which have long since allowed it, and learn lessons from the challenges and controversies they’ve dealt with.

 

Problem gambling and young fans

One of the issues with opening up sports betting is the potential risk of a rise in problem gambling. According to a study by the University of Guelph, sports bettors are at a higher risk of problem gambling compared to other types of gamblers. However, the problem isn’t so much with sports betting itself, as it is with the typical personalities of people who enjoy betting on sports. According to the researchers, sports gamblers tend to have a more optimistic, idealistic attitude towards gambling compared to non-sports gamblers.

Since the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) in 2018, a whole string of states have chosen to allow legal sports betting, yielding useful data on gambling patterns. A large-scale study by the American Gaming Association shows that 69% of sports bettors are male, with 45% in the 23-34 year old age bracket.

The takeaway from such research is that gaming authorities and charities in Canada may need to focus particular attention on younger, male gamblers who can so often fall into risky behaviour patterns. At the same time, lessons should also be learned from countries like the UK, where the widespread availability of betting sites on platforms like smartphones has seen a steep rise in women problem gamblers. Experts have highlighted that social stigma rooted in expectations that women are level-headed “caregivers” can lead to females flying under the radar when it comes to gambling addiction.

The UK has a long-established sports betting market, with gambling being further opened up with the Gambling Act 2005. An issue that has caused concern is the potential targeting of adolescents by gambling firms. A recent University of Stirling study showed that 96% of 11-24 year olds had seen some sort of gambling marketing in the previous month.

While there have been attempts to mitigate the issue – for example, by banning gambling adverts during live sports games broadcast before 9pm – controlling the problem on social media has become more of a challenge. Social media accounts for betting companies may feature content that’s interesting to young sports fans, especially when it comes to esports. This is another potential minefield that legislators in Canada may have to navigate.

 

Normalization of sports betting

Canadian lawmakers may also want to consider the significant controversy around how marketing sports betting can inextricably link sports with gambling within the culture. One of the countries with the highest gambling losses per adult is Australia. In 2017-18, this stood at a huge $1,292 AUD per adult for the year, with sports betting losses seeing the largest percentage increase. A 2017 article in the Harm Reduction Journal explored the normalisation of gambling in sports, and concluded that marketing aimed at young men was strongly linked to this mindset.

Many participants in the Australian study talked about how sports commentary links the game with gambling, using specific betting language and focusing on performances and stats. Some sports broadcasts rely on odds given by bookmakers, even crossing over to them during the broadcast to give live odds. In the words of the report, “Most participants stated that crossing to bookmakers throughout the match had become such a normal part of the game that they rarely thought to challenge the presence of these forms of promotions”.

In the UK, there’s been fiery debates around gambling companies advertising on soccer shirts. Eight Premier League teams currently advertise gambling companies on their team kit, while money from the gambling industry is also poured into lower-level leagues. Campaigners in the UK have long been voicing strong opposition to this influence, though they have had pushback from figures within football who cite the lifeline that lucrative sponsorships have brought the sport, particularly during the economic catastrophe of Covid-19. A new era of sports gambling in Canada may well bring such debates to the Great White North.

 

Creating laws and setting limits

Another challenge is getting gambling legislation right. For example, the UK’s Gambling Act 2005 was written at a time when online sports betting was still evolving, before the rise of smartphones made it accessible in an unprecedented way. The UK is set to update its gambling laws in 2021, and it’s speculated that there may be sweeping changes regarding online stake limits, deposit payment methods, and advertising. There will also be a review of VIP and loyalty schemes, which often target sports bettors, and can carry a higher risk of fraud and problem gaming.

Right now, many companies operating within the industry – including sites aimed at Canadian bettors – make a point of applying their own regulatory standards. For example, affiliate site BestOnlineCasino.ca vets its listed operators, making sure they meet compliance standards before recommending them to users.

Reputable online casinos and sportsbooks also have their own policies and tools to help people gamble responsibly, from deposit limits to algorithms that can detect risky behaviour.

The upshot is that, if and when Canada brings in single-event sports betting, it will have other countries’ experiences to draw on, and legislators will no doubt be looking around to see what kind of laws have been introduced and what’ll need to be included from day one.

As such, it could be argued that Canada has a significant advantage over other countries which implemented sports betting years or decades ago. While places like the UK have had to tweak and adapt legislation over time (with the UK Gambling Commission recently slapping online casinos with new rules on how slot games operate, for example), Canada will have a much clearer view of the ramifications of sports betting. It’s clear that the lawmakers know the potential impact of legalisation, but now it’s up to them to ensure they build a framework for safe and fair gambling in the country.

 

Affiliate Industry

Bojoko doubles down in the US and Canada

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Bojoko doubles down in the US and Canada
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Award-winning gambling affiliate launches dedicated .us and .ca domains as part of efforts to deliver a truly localised user experience

Bojoko, the award-winning online gambling affiliate brand, has launched dedicated sites for players in the US and Canada under .us and .ca domains as it continues to work towards its goal of becoming the leading affiliate in North America.

Bojoko.us and Bojoko.ca have been completely redeveloped under the hood so that they provide players with accurate and up to date information about each of the online casino brands available to them in specific states and provinces across the US and Canada.

This allows Bojoko to offer a truly localised product to players across both markets. This includes expertly written content that covers everything players need to know about online casino in the US and Canada, as well as a selection of powerful filtering tools to help them find the best brands.

Bojoko has also rolled out its “double layer” testing and review process for all of the casinos listed in the US and Canada. Each brand is put through its paces by Bojoko’s team of independent testers who sign up, deposit and play at each casino before leaving feedback on the experience they receive.

This is combined with player reviews and ratings so that Bojoko members know exactly what to expect before they sign up and play at any of the casinos it lists.

Joonas Karhu from Bojoko, said: “Canada and the US are two of the largest online casino markets in the world and we wanted to offer players a truly localised version of Bojoko to help them learn more about online casino and find the brands that meet their preferences the most.

“We realised the only way to do this was to launch dedicated domains for the US and Canada. This was a significant undertaking, and certainly from a technical perspective, but our team has overcome all challenges faced and we now offer a superior user experience as a result.

“We have already gained great traction in both the US and Canada and now look forward to driving even more growth with our dedicated domains.”

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Canada

Gaming Realms Joins Hands with Loto-Québec to Introduce Slingo Games in Quebec

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Gaming Realms has launched its portfolio of Slingo Original mobile games in Quebec in partnership with Loto-Québec, a state corporation and the only regulated operator of iGaming in the state.

Gaming Realms will first launch Slingo Extreme and Blackjack Xchange, with the rest of the portfolio following later in the year.

Mark Segal, Gaming Realms’ chief financial officer, said:

“Hot on the heels of being awarded our Ontario igaming license, we are delighted to have gone live with Loto-Québec. 2022 is set to be an exciting time for the company as we move to establish a strong foothold in the Canadian market and work towards our longer-term plan of expanding further into the North American market.”

Stéphane Martel, Loto-Québec head of products and innovation, added: “Gaming Realms’ games are a great addition to our growing online casino game portfolio. Our players will enjoy this new offer.”

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Canada

PROLINE by OLG Becomes the First Official NFL Sportsbook Partner in Canada

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PROLINE, the sports betting brand of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), has entered into a deal with the National Football League (NFL).

Under this exclusive five-year deal, OLG and PROLINE become an official retail lottery and sportsbook partner of the NFL in Ontario and the NFL’s first official sportsbook partner in Canada.

“We are so excited to announce this partnership given that PROLINE is the only platform for sports bettors in Ontario to place legal, single event wagers and other exciting bets on the Super Bowl at both retail outlets and online at PROLINE+. This exciting collaboration with a world-class organization like the NFL creates new sports entertainment experiences that give sports fans all across the province an incredible opportunity to get closer to the sport they love through exclusive, one-of-a-kind gameplay,” Dave Pridmore, OLG’s Chief Digital and Strategy Officer, said.

“As the sports betting landscape continues to evolve, we are excited to partner with OLG in Ontario with the opening of the sports betting market in Canada. OLG will bring NFL fans in the province a whole new experience in sports gaming entertainment. We look forward to working together to create new responsible and innovative ways for football fans to share in the action of the NFL,” Gavin Kemp, NFL Director of Corporate Partnerships, said.

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