Kent Tukeli |  Sat 09/09/2017 - 08:53 EDT

Why Do Canadians Love Gambling on Football?

Why Do Canadians Love Gambling on Football?
Much to the surprise of folks south of the border, football is a Canadian tradition that stretches back to the 1800s. The sport doesn't capture the Canadian imagination like hockey, but remains popular coast-to-coast. Canada loves gambling too, with the nation spending more than $4.5 billion per year on wagering. Canadians bet on football mostly through online sportsbooks, because the government refuses to modernize the industry.

Canada Has Loved Football Since The 1860s

Gridiron football is known as a uniquely American obsession, with the NFL capturing the lion’s share of the pro sport market in North America. Similar to basketball, which was invented and developed by a Canadian in the United States, Canadian and American football grew side by side as the greateast universities from both countries played against each other in the 1870s, trading ideas for the sport while agreeing upon common rules.

Gridiron football evolved from rugby, which was invented at Rugby School in 1845. Humans have played ball-based sports for millennia, as described by Greek and Roman written history. One of the first records of a gruesome sports injury was Cicero’s description of a man struck with a kicked ball while enjoying a shave at the barber. Rugby was an evolution of ball sports, focusing more on carrying and running with the ball instead of kicking the ball along the ground.


NFL Championship Game, Dec. 28, 1958


The British Army exported rugby to loyal subjects in Montreal in 1965, playing a game against Quebecois citizens. This game spread and evolved quickly into the type of gridiron football familiar to fans today. In addition to playing against Americans in the 19th century, Canada also established the oldest trophy in North American football when the Yates Cup started in 1898. The CFL Grey Cup was established eleven years later, 57 years before the American equivalent – the Super Bowl.

Canada’s one of the most sports-hungry nations in the world, producing scores of elite professional and amateur athletes, despite a modest population of approximately 36 million. The country’s been a sports trailblazer since confederating in 1867, developing modern basketball, football and hockey, along with the oldest pro sports trophy – the Stanley Cup

Certainly, Canada’s the land of hockey. But most outside this country don’t understand the Canadian hunger for contact sports, which extends to include football for more than a century and a half. Anyone lucky enough to score tickets to a Saskatchewan Roughriders game will immediately recognize the same spirit that breathes life into historic football clubs like the Green Bay Packers, another small market town that shuts down for touchdowns.

Government Refuses To Accept Reality

Canada’s democracy trends towards a nanny state, maintaining a near-monopoly on “sin” industries like liquor and gambling. Instead of providing regular wagering services, Canadian law forces sports gamblers to play parley-only games like Pro-Line, under the guise of preventing match fixing. At the same time, the payouts given to Pro-Line players don’t meet standards set in the online sports wagering industry. 

Politicians don’t stake their power by promoting gambling, a subject which doesn’t win election votes. As such, leaders haven’t invested time in fixing the Canadian gambling industry by modernizing official sports wagering games offered within the country. This drives players to seek offshore options, which sends currency away from the economy. 

Estimates suggest that at least $4 billion a year flows outside of Canada because of the government’s refusal to keep wagering dollars inside the border. Provincial sports betting games suffer greatly, with an annual handle of about half a billion dollars. Creating a sanctioned sports gambling body inspired by modern sportsbook standards would return billions to the economy.

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Offshore Betting Is Easy In Canada

Despite a quasi-legal stance towards gambling, nobody in North America has been charged for playing through an online sportsbook. The onus of the law focuses on the sportsbooks themselves, instead of the player. The United States closed many loopholes for online sportsbooks, but Americans still bet overseas through technology which hides the location of the player. Online payment systems help shift funds through digital wallets beyond the reach of U.S. law.

Canadians don’t have to perform digital espionage to gamble on football offshore. Many top sportsbooks provide services in the country, making it easy to sign up and enjoy bonuses unavailable through provincial sports betting games. Canada loves football, and sports in general, creating a significant market for legal wagering.

Online sportsbooks will continue to attract most Canadian football fans.

Category : News

Tag : cfl , Football , nfl , saskatchewan roughriders

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