CFL Players Get Match-Fixing Education as Sports Betting Grows

The lessons come as the CFL is leaning into the world of event wagering, and as its teams have struck several partnerships with sports betting sites.

Last Updated: May 29, 2023 11:14 AM ET Read Time: 2 min
Chad Kelly Toronto Argonauts CFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Canadian Football League players are getting a crash course in spotting and reporting match-fixing amid the growth of legal sports betting and its embrace by professional teams. 

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) recently announced it launched an e-learning course for CFL players and personnel detailing the league’s new match-manipulation policy, “the first of its kind for a professional league in Canada,” a press release noted. 

“As sports wagering grows, we must continue to focus on education, responsibility and accountability throughout the league,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in the release.

Spotting rouge flags

Those who take the course will be briefed on corruption offences and their consequences, as well as how to report match-fixing and assist investigations. The lessons come as the CFL is leaning into the world of event wagering, and as its teams have struck several partnerships with sports betting sites, such as Sports Interaction

Moreover, the course has launched during a rash of reported integrity and sports betting-related incidents. One such instance saw the National Football League suspend several players for violating its gambling policy, with one player claiming to ESPN he didn't know about the rules.

“The CFL Match Manipulation Policy has been implemented to maintain the integrity of the league and protect against the increasing threats of match manipulation, also known as competition manipulation,” the press release stated. “A single CFL game can generate over $6 million in wagers from around the world, which indicates that there exists a risk for the league to be susceptible to match-fixing, and for players and non-players to be targeted by match fixers.” 

The CCES said the new match-manipulation policy was developed with the help of McLaren Global Sport Solutions (MGSS). There are four objectives: maintain the integrity of the league, guard against any attempted match-fixing, create a  "uniform rule and consistent scheme of enforcement and sanctions" for everyone subject to the policy, and ensure that sportsbooks abide by the CFL's requirements for its authorized gaming operators.

“As with all policies, it’s essential that everyone who is subject to it has a clear sense of their rights and responsibilities under that policy,” CCES president and CEO Jeremy Luke said in the release. “The e-learning course the CCES has provided for players and personnel will ensure learners understand the policy’s core elements and gives them the tools to identify match manipulation in practice.”

The CFL's preseason is underway. Regular season play starts on June 8, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers currently installed with the shortest odds at legal sportsbooks to win the 110th Grey Cup

Meanwhile, the CCES and MGSS are hosting the 2023 Symposium on Competition Manipulation and Gambling in Sport this week in Toronto (at which Covers will give a presentation on sports betting and the media). The CCES is a not-for-profit organization that also oversees the Canadian Anti-Doping Program. 

“Match manipulation is recognized as a major threat to the integrity of sport on a global scale and without measures in place to manage sport betting and corruption, it will continue to grow,” the centre’s press release warned. “The CCES is working with trusted partners to protect the integrity of Canadian sport and to educate the sport community about the risks associated with such activities.”

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