football betting

The relationship between football players, casinos and gambling runs deep in Ontario, despite limited legal options within the province. While private sports betting is illegal, football remains closely tied to gambling in history, culture, and illegal activity. Many former professional football players continue to bet on sports and even own a stake in casino companies after retirement.

Will Ontario Score on Sports Betting?

However, officially endorsing or partnering with casinos or sportsbooks also brings significant controversies that have prevented major football leagues or current players from taking that step. Integrity concerns, loss of control, conflicts of interest, and public perception issues create caution around expanded gambling relationships. Still, debates around regulation, responsible growth, and economic opportunity fuel discussions on modernizing Ontario’s approach.

While the Ontario Casino Online market is legal and regulated, private sports betting is illegal in Ontario.

The potential benefits of legalized and regulated sports betting are substantial. A regulated sports betting market in Ontario could generate over $200 million in annual revenue and create thousands of new jobs according to industry reports.

Partnerships between football leagues, players, and responsible operators could also fund important programs tackling problem gambling, mental health support, and responsible gaming education.

New regulations would need to effectively prevent fraud, and money laundering and ensure betting integrity while still allowing Ontario’s football tradition and passion for sport to thrive. Licensure, audibility, transaction transparency, and enforced bans on insiders are examples of safeguards that could achieve this balance if implemented carefully.

Here’s some interesting insights about Gambling in Ontario

  • Major professional football players from Ontario with links to gambling include Russ Jackson (CFL Hall of Fame quarterback, injected over $2 million into slot machine company), Henry Burris (CFL MVP quarterback, partner in three casino restaurants), Warren Moon (Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback from Ontario, has invested in sports gambling data / analytics startups).
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  • Illegal sports betting in Ontario is estimated at over $14 billion per year according to industry reports. Much of this activity goes unreported, fueling underground economies, money laundering and organized crime. Additional regulation and taxation of this existing market could generate substantial revenue in a regulated model.


  • Surveys show over 35% of Ontarians bet on sports at least monthly, and 12% gamble at casinos regularly. Younger generations, key football audiences, and ethnic minority groups tend to be engaged in higher rates of gambling and sports betting in particular. Regulations need to consider all groups and their diverse interests.


  • New casino developments have been proposed in Ontario, including near major football stadiums or team practice facilities, but none have been approved or constructed yet. Current casino options are limited to the regulated Online Casino market, slots at racetracks, charity casinos and cruise ship casinos. But the regulated Ontario Online Casino market is booming.

For football leagues and players, the tie to gambling remains hesitant but hard to break completely given the history and culture. As more provinces move to regulate sports betting and sports-gambling partnerships develop elsewhere, influence on the issue in Ontario seems likely to evolve over time. The same goes for public opinion, as younger generations more accustomed to regulated choice demonstrate that prohibition often fails to eliminate demand.


While sports betting options remain limited to parimutuel horse race betting, lottery games and private illegal activity in Ontario today, football and gambling continue to overlap through the province’s history and economy.

Major football players from the province have pursued gambling at high stakes, some developing addiction and others going on to own a direct stake in gambling businesses and operations after their playing days.

Though links between sports betting, football players and casinos may not be officially endorsed or promoted within Ontario currently, they remain an inextricable part of the culture and conversation. With meaningful reforms and safeguards put in place, these ties could emerge from the shadows to fuel opportunity, tax revenue, jobs and corporate partnerships in the open market.

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Overall, as debates continue on modernizing Ontario’s approach, influence on the future of sports betting from football to gambling industry seems sure to shape that discussion for years to come.

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