Each Thursday, Sports Handle will recap all the top sports betting news in Canada, highlight the Game of the Week, and take a look ahead at some of the most intriguing games to bet on over the weekend.
Our top Canadian sports stories this week
- DraftKings Canada Fined For Advertising And Inducements Violations
- CFL Week 5 Wagering Preview: Unbeaten Lions, Blue Bombers Clash
- NHL Draft Wagering Preview: Shane Wright Favored To Be Selected First Overall
- Durant Demand Biggest Odds Mover At Onset Of Free Agency
- Bettor Up: Baseball’s All-Star Wagers
Game of the week
Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ BC Lions — Saturday, July 9
There hasn’t been this much anticipation for a CFL regular-season game in a long time.
The undefeated Winnipeg Blue Bombers will visit the unbeaten BC Lions Saturday night in what could be the game of the year in the CFL. The Bombers, the reigning back-to-back Grey Cup champions, are a rare 3.5-point underdog at PointsBet heading into the contest.
Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke has been nothing short of amazing since being handed the starting job this season. The Victoria, British Columbia native has thrown for 1,077 yards and nine touchdowns in three games and rushed for an additional 180 yards and three scores.
Rourke will face his toughest test yet against a stout Bombers defense that is allowing a league-low 15.8 points per game.
QB drive results through week 4 of the 2022 #CFL season
Historically, anything above 2 points/drive or 30 yards/drive could be considered elite level@nathan_rourke is re-writing the book so far this season pic.twitter.com/rpP2M4Irk6
— Chris 🇨🇦🏈 Stats Junkie (@Stats_Junkie) July 6, 2022
Kevin Durant’s odds to join Raptors
It has been almost a week since NBA superstar Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, and the Toronto Raptors have the third-best odds to acquire his services.
The Raptors were +400 at DraftKings on Thursday morning to be Durant’s next team, with the Phoenix Suns favored at +110 and the Nets at +250 to retain Durant’s services.
On NBA Today on Tuesday, ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski said a Nets/Raptors trade would be the most “seamless” one for both teams. He believes Toronto has the best young assets and the draft pick compensation to pull off a trade for Durant.
Durant, a 12-time All-Star who will be 34 next season, has always spoken highly of the city of Toronto and its basketball franchise, leading to wide speculation he could land north of the border.
Kevin Durant has been praising the Raptors franchise for years 😎 pic.twitter.com/xtBveSiDgk
— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) July 4, 2022
Analysts have projected that to pull off a potential blockbuster trade, the Raptors would need to include key pieces like point guard Fred VanVleet, or forward Pascal Siakam, or Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, along with multiple first-round draft picks.
The Raptors went an impressive 48-34 last season to qualify for the playoffs before falling to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.
More money laundering in Canadian casinos
A few weeks after an 1,800-page report confirmed a major money laundering scandal through casinos in British Columbia, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have uncovered another money laundering scheme, this time in Ontario.
The RCMP laid multiple criminal charges against five individuals after an investigation discovered over $3 million (CAD) from the illegal sale of cannabis was laundered through casinos around Toronto and the Niagara region.
Ontario is one of the few regions in the world that has a fully integrated police bureau attached to the gaming regulator, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Following the four-year investigation, the AGCO will now conduct a regulatory review of the regulated gaming entities to assess the effectiveness of their controls.
“The Ontario Provincial Police’s Investigation and Enforcement Bureau attached to the AGCO provided dedicated resources to the RCMP throughout the course of its investigation. We were pleased to lend our resources and gaming expertise to the RCMP in this matter, and will continue to support all stakeholders in our shared goal of effectively detecting and safeguarding against criminal activities in casinos,” said Alison Jevons, chief superintendent of the OPP Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, in a press release.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s Integrated OPP Bureau Assists RCMP’s Money Laundering Investigation: https://t.co/35ulavQk7F pic.twitter.com/Fmu4Ns77FW
— AGCO (@Ont_AGCO) July 5, 2022
Bally’s now licensed in Ontario
Bally’s Canada is now licensed with the AGCO and can go live in the province of Ontario after securing an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario.
The license is effective as of June 30, and it covers four distinct domain names — ballybet.ca, ballycasino.ca, ballysbet.ca, and ballyscasino.ca — in addition to the Bally’s mobile app.
Bally’s is already operating in 14 casinos across the United States and owns online sports betting licenses in 18 states.
There’s no exact timeline for a launch in Ontario, but it realistically could happen this summer.
As of Thursday morning, there were 31 regulated online gaming sites live in Ontario, with 70 or more expected to be operational in the province by the end of the year.
2022 NHL World Gaming Championships
The NHL Draft will get underway Thursday night in Montreal, but there was another major hockey-related event in the city this week.
Justin Reguly defeated Matthew Grenier to win $26,000 and the championship belt and trophy at the 2022 NHL Gaming World Championship: North American Club Final on Wednesday.
Reguly, whose screen name is EZ Regs, won consecutive games over Grenier, the 2021 champion, to be crowned the NHL video game champion. Reguly also won the competition in 2020.
Grenier still took home $10,000 as a finalist.
Contestants competed on the PlayStation 5 gaming console during the tournament, which had a head-to-head, best-of-three series format.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and many of this year’s top NHL Draft prospects, including projected first overall pick Shane Wright, attended the event.
“It’s a pretty cool setup here,” Wright told NHL.com. “Just being in the game and actually being able to play as yourself in the game is pretty cool. You grow up playing the game, you grow up playing online and all that, so to actually play as yourself is pretty cool.”
Shane Wright MTL vs Emily Clarke SJS at 2022 NHL Gaming World Championship.
Scoreless in the first period.
Wright: “Carey Price is saving me right now.” pic.twitter.com/4Dmbi1XGpK
— Sean Farrell (@seanfarrell27) July 6, 2022
SaskGaming announces increased revenue
On July 4, the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation (SaskGaming) released its annual report and revealed net income of $19.1 million (CAD) for the year ended March 31, 2022.
The healthy numbers suggest the gaming industry in the province is slowly recovering from the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on land-based casinos. Casinos in Regina and Moose Jaw were temporarily closed for most of the first quarter of 2021-22 due to COVID restrictions in the province.
SaskGaming reported a net loss of $13.4 million in 2020-21 at the height of the pandemic.
“SaskGaming saw steady improvement in 2021-22, as we emerged from the era of pandemic-related restrictions,” Minister Responsible for SaskGaming Don Morgan said in the release. “With nearly a full year of operations under its belt, SaskGaming was able to contribute $9.6 million to the province’s General Revenue Fund to support the First Nations Trust, Community Initiatives Fund and Clarence Campeau Development Fund.”
Through its community giving program, the corporation invested $220,900 in organizations, projects and events in 2021-22, with 41% of those dollars assisting Indigenous people and programs.
Some other financial highlights include:
- Revenue: $77.8 million compared to $30.9 million in 2020-21.
- Expenses: $58.7 million compared to $44.3 million in 2020-21.
Saskatchewan is home to nearly 1.2 million Canadians and SaskGaming owns and operates Casinos Regina & Moose Jaw.
The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority also owns and operates seven First Nations casinos in the province. It will be rolling out a new online gaming site later this year with the help of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.