Northern Exposure: The Ongoing Battle For A Regulated Market In Quebec, PointsBet’s $1 Million Curling Bracket Challenge

Each week, Canada Sports Betting recaps all the top sports betting and iGaming news in Canada and highlights the events of the week.

Our top stories this week

Event of the week

MLB – Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Sept. 22-24

It’s the most exciting time of the year for baseball fans and bettors as the push for the playoffs comes to a climax with only a handful of games remaining in the regular season.

Entering play Thursday against the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays sit in the second wild-card spot in the American League with a one-game lead on both the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners with 10 games to play.

Beginning Friday, the Jays will play a three-game set with the Rays in Tampa Bay. The Rays hold the first wild-card spot in the AL and trail the Baltimore Orioles by 2 1/2 games for the AL East Division lead, so the stakes will be high for both teams. In fact, six of Toronto’s final 10 games will be against Tampa. There’s also a very realistic possibility that the Rays and Jays will meet in the postseason.

FanDuel is giving the Jays -900 to odds to make the playoffs (+520 not to make the playoffs) and +1900 odds to win the World Series.

According to FanGraphs’ projections, the Jays have an 82.4% chance of making the playoffs and a 4.5% chance of winning the World Series.

Major sports leagues support Quebec’s online sports betting bid

Three major professional sports leagues — NBA, CFL, and MLS — are throwing their support behind the Quebec Online Gaming Coalition’s push for a new regulatory licensing regime for online gaming and sports betting in Quebec, according to Le Soleil.

In May, a group of eight online gambling operators and suppliers formed the coalition to advocate for a regulated online gaming market in the province, much like Ontario’s.

Currently, Loto-Quebec is the province’s only legal provider of iGaming and sports betting. The coalition says a shift to a regulated market could produce roughly $230 million in royalties to the provincial government.

“If the Quebec government were to create an open and regulated market, the NBA would support this structure, in the same way it supports Ontario’s competitive market,” said NBA spokesperson Mike Bass, in Le Soleil’s report.

Loto-Quebec is questioning the true intentions of the coalition and the legalities surrounding the potential launch of a regulated market in the province. Spokesperson Renaud Dugas told Le Soleil, “Some of the signatories illegally offer games to Quebecers, thus contravening the Canadian Criminal Code.”

Coalition spokesperson Nathalie Bergeron countered in the report by stating, “Do you know of many industries that are proactively asking a government to not only regulate them, but tax them?”

Loto-Quebec also released its financials for the first quarter of the 2023-24 fiscal year, announcing generated total revenues of $711.2 million and a consolidated net income of $380.9 million.

Loto-Quebec’s total first-quarter revenues and consolidated net income increased by $54.9 million (+8.4%) and $43.6 million (+12.9%), respectively, from the first quarter of the pre-pandemic fiscal year, but decreased by $33.2 million (-4.5%) and $65.6 million (-14.7%), respectively, compared to the same period last year. The corporation is blaming poor Lotto Max sales for the dip in revenue.

Loto-Quebec also announced this past week that it has withdrawn its proposal to open a gaming hall in downtown Montreal near the Bell Centre due to health and safety concerns with the proposed venue.

Pick a curling bracket for $1 million

Fall will arrive this weekend and that means that winter sports, like curling, are about to kick into high gear.

The second annual PointsBet Invitational will be played Sept. 27-Oct. 1 at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville, Ontario. Sixteen men’s and 16 women’s teams from Canada will take part in the competition, chasing a prize purse in excess of $350,000 in a sudden-death single-knockout format (just like March Madness).

The event will also offer curling fans and bettors the chance to fill out a PointsBet Invitational curling bracket for the chance to win $1 million. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a perfect bracket submitted for last year’s inaugural event, which was held in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

“If you’re just going with a coin flip, the odds of picking a perfect 16-team bracket are 1-32,768. The odds of getting both brackets perfect are 1-1,073,741,824,” a PointsBet trader told Sports Handle prior to last year’s event. “But I would estimate the odds of a perfect bracket, for a curling expert, are around 1-800, which means getting both brackets perfect would be around 1-640,000.”

Although basketball, football, soccer, and hockey are the most popular sports to wager on in Canada, many operators have told Canada Sports Betting that curling is one of the sports that has been rising in popularity with bettors recently.

You can visit to fill out your bracket before the start of the bonspiel.

888 partners with CFL

888 is the newest official authorized gaming partner of the CFL.

The CFL made the announcement on Thursday afternoon.

“The CFL and 888 are the perfect match,” said Head of Canada at 888, Roi Nadler, in a press release . “Through our high-quality, entertaining and exciting games, we are committed to delivering an exceptional experience, ensuring CFL fans can find ways to keep the action going, even once the matches are over.”

888 offers sports betting, iCasino, and poker products via its online platform. The operator will immediately begin using in-stadium advertising, and ads will also be seen on TV and digital platforms in the near future.

As part of the agreement, 888 will be sponsoring a slate of rivalry games set to take place between East Division teams beginning on Sept. 23 when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats take on the Toronto Argonauts.

FanDuel and BetRegal are also official authorized gaming partners of the CFL.