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How casino and gambling sponsorships became commonplace in hockey

When it comes to hockey in Canada, we all know it’s not just about the game. It’s about the beer, the food, and all the good times that come with it. And while we’re all used to seeing logos of various companies on our favourite team’s jerseys, there’s one type of endorsement that’s become commonplace in hockey that might surprise you: the endorsement of casino and gambling firms. There’s a stream of solid funding coming from such firms, so it’s not unreasonable to think such sponsorships may become the new norm.

Casino and gambling sponsorships in Canadian hockey

Casino and gambling sponsorships are not an inevitable part of Canadian hockey, but the trend began as early as the 1990s. Initially, only a few teams had sponsorship deals, but as benefits became clear, it soon became the norm. These deals are a way for casinos and gambling companies to reach a large audience of passionate hockey fans and to give back to their communities. There probably isn’t a new casino Canada has to offer that wouldn’t want to be endorsed at prime time.

Sponsorships have evolved from logos on jerseys to naming rights for arenas and advertising at events. Online gambling sites have also become sponsors, offering a variety of games and appealing to younger audiences. With single-event sports betting now legal in Canada, more sponsorships may arise, although concerns remain about their impact on problem gambling among fans.

Reasons for hockey sponsorships

The reason why casinos started sponsoring hockey teams in Canada is that they saw it as a way to increase their visibility and reach a new audience. Hockey is a beloved sport in Canada, and casinos saw this as an opportunity to tap into that loyalty and make themselves a part of the fan experience. Plus, with the high energy and excitement of hockey games, it was the perfect environment for casinos to advertise their offerings. After all, for many die-hard fans NHL betting is part of the daily routine.

Evolution of hockey sponsorships

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the relationship between Canadian casinos and hockey teams deepened, with sponsorships becoming increasingly common. As casinos looked for ways to stand out among the competition, they began to offer more and more exclusive perks and experiences to fans. This included access to private suites, meet-and-greets with players, and other VIP experiences. Hockey teams, in turn, were eager to keep their fans engaged and loyal, and saw these partnerships as a way to do so. As a result, sponsorships have become an integral part of the relationship between casinos and hockey in Canada.

Online gambling as sponsors of Canadian hockey

But it’s not just casinos that are getting in on the action. Online gambling sites have also become major sponsors of hockey teams in Canada in recent years. Just take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have a sponsorship deal with an online sportsbook. This type of sponsorship might seem controversial to some, but for others, it’s just part of the changing landscape of sports advertising.

Impact of legalising single-event sports betting

In 2019, the Canadian government passed Bill C-218, which amended the Criminal Code to allow single-event sports betting in Canada. This opened the door for even more gambling companies to sponsor hockey teams and advertise their offerings. This is why you’re starting to see more and more online sportsbooks sponsoring Canadian hockey teams. The revenue generated from these sponsorships can be a major source of income for teams and help them stay competitive in a highly competitive industry.

Controversy of casino and gambling sponsorships

Of course, not everyone is happy about the rise of casino and gambling sponsorships in hockey in Canada. Some people worry that it sends the wrong message to young fans or that it could contribute to problem gambling. But others argue that as long as the sponsorships are done responsibly and in accordance with regulations, there’s no harm in them.

Gambling advertising in Canada is regulated by federal and provincial laws, with restrictions on illegal or unlicensed gambling. Concerns over the impact of ads on vulnerable populations have led to stricter rules on content and placement, such as banning ads on public transportation and in areas where minors are present. Online gambling presents a challenge for regulation and enforcement, but recent legislation allows provinces to regulate and licence single-event sports betting. Balancing responsible gambling and protecting vulnerable populations is key in regulating gambling advertising in Canada.

More deals are to come

So there you have it, the story of how casino and gambling sponsorships became commonplace in hockey in Canada. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s clear that these types of sponsorships are here to stay. As long as they continue to bring in revenue for teams and offer unique experiences to fans, we’ll likely continue to see casinos and gambling sites making their mark on the world of Canadian hockey. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll even see a team sponsored by a casino or online sportsbook win the Stanley Cup. Hey, anything can happen in the wild and crazy world of Canadian hockey!

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