Earlier this week, the Canadian Premier League announced a partnership with TonyBet online sportsbook and casino. TonyBet is now the official sports betting and online casino partner of the CPL. TonyBet replaces ComeOn as the league’s official partner in this category.
This deal comes just weeks after the English Premier League banned sports betting sponsors on soccer jerseys. It also comes in the wake of a recent iGaming Ontario proposal to ban athletes from appearing in online gambling advertisements.
The deal is a multi-year partnership. Specific financial details of the sponsorship have not been disclosed.
- TonyBet will now be the presenting sponsor of the league’s weekly Match of the Week broadcast on OneSoccer.
- Ontario has become one of the biggest online gambling markets in North America, earning over $1.5 billion in revenue.
- Fans can now win up to $20,000 from TonyBet for correctly predicting the winning teams over the course of the season.
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What is TonyBet?
TonyBet is an international sports betting site and online casino. The sportsbook was founded in 2011 by Lithuanian poker player, politician, and businessman Antanas Guoga.
TonyBet is not one of the bigger names in online gambling, so many see its CPL sponsorship as a way to grow the TonyBet brand this side of the Atlantic. With that being said, TonyBet is a legit sportsbook.
TonyBet is licensed to operate in Ontario through Ontario’s online gambling authority, iGaming Ontario. It also has a licence to operate in Canada through the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Outside of Canada, TonyBet has over 10 licences from various European countries, including the UK.
In addition to these licences, TonyBet has subjected itself to the regulations and monitoring requirements of the online gambling monitoring company U.S. Integrity, which is one of the biggest sports betting monitors in the world.
Antanas Guoga and his sportsbook also has lots of experience sponsoring sports leagues and teams. The betting site controversially sponsored the Lithuanian basketball team 2010 at a time when gambling sponsorships were illegal in Lithuania. Since then, TonyBet has sponsored multiple Lithuanian and Estonian soccer and basketball teams and the Latvian national handball team.
What does this deal mean for the CPL?
The CPL’s new TonyBet partnership will not have much of an effect on the CPL. According to the CPL’s own statement, TonyBet will now be the presenting sponsor of the league’s weekly Match of the Week broadcast on OneSoccer. TonyBet will also be the primary sponsor of the CPL’s Centre Circle app.
One new feature TonyBet brings to the CPL is an official CPL Predictor contest. Fans can now win up to $20,000 from TonyBet for correctly predicting the winning teams over the course of the season. This contest is only available on the Centre Circle app.
Another obvious thing TonyBet brings to the CPL is money. Specifics about exactly how much the CPL and its eight clubs will net from this deal have not been announced. We have to assume the league will earn significantly more than the CPL earned from its last deal with ComeOn. The ComeOn deal was signed in 2021. In the time since, Ontario has become one of the biggest online gambling markets in North America earning over $1.5 billion in revenue.
What do the fans think?
CPL fans are understandably torn about the league’s newest sponsor. Gambling sponsorships are very controversial due to the risks of gambling addiction and fraudulent practices among some online betting sites. For these reasons, momentum is growing to limit gambling sponsorships in jurisdictions all over the world, including in Ontario.
This growing movement is reflected in the English Premier League’s decision to ban gambling sponsors on the front of their teams’ kits. The difference between the EPL and the CPL is the amount of money available to the leagues.
The EPL is one of the biggest and richest sports leagues in the world. Only the NFL, NBA, and MLB have higher revenues than the EPL. By comparison, the CPL is not even one of the richest soccer leagues in North America. The CPL is far behind Mexico’s LigaMX, the USA’s Major League Soccer, and even the top divisions of Costa Rica and Honduras.
Until the CPL is in a financially sound enough position to turn down lucrative gambling sponsorships, fans should expect the league to continue making these kinds of partnerships with sports betting sites like TonyBet.
Julian Miller is a Canadian writer and an avid sports fan. He has years of experience in the iGaming industry, having started writing while completing his university studies in Montreal, Quebec. In 2022, he graduated, and has since been working full-time in the iGaming space. He has a particular fondness for the English Premier League — though he also has plenty of experience covering football, basketball, and other sports.