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Do CFL Fans Have an Influence on Casino Attendance?

The Impact of CFL Games on Casino Tourism: How Football Fans Influence Casino Visits

The Canadian Football League will always live in the shadow of the NFL. Even though it doesn’t get nearly the same level of attention as its American counterpart, CFL games continue to attract thousands of fans. In 2023, each game drew average crowds of over 23,000 people. With the recent expansion of legalized sports betting in Canada, more and more people are wagering on the games they watch. You don’t need a roulette calculator to know that many CFL fans also enjoy casino gambling.

There are nine CFL teams which are:

  • Edmonton Elks
  • BC Lions
  • Calgary Stampeders
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders
  • Toronto Argonauts
  • Ottawa Redblack
  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats
  • Montreal Alouettes

All of these teams play their games at stadiums that are within driving distance of at least one casino. In some cases, those casinos are just a short walk away from the stadium. When the game is over, and fans still have the urge to do something fun and exciting, many of them make their way to the nearest gambling establishment. 

So, do CFL games have an impact on casinos? The short answer is yes. When a crowd of 23,000 fans leaves a CFL stadium, there’s a good chance that at least a few of them are going to head to a casino to cap off the night. However, it is nearly impossible to say how much of an impact each game has on attendance at local casinos. 

That said, it’s safe to say that at least a few Canadian casinos benefit from CFL games. Take River Rock Casino as an example. If you are at Vancouver’s BC Place for a Lions game, you can get to River Rock Casino in about 15 minutes by car or by SkyTrain. Not only is it Western Canada’s only 4-Diamond casino resort, but it has over 1,000 slots and loads of table games along with a poker room and horse racing. Of course, it has a hotel and plenty of other amenities. 

Montreal is another great destination for anyone who wants to complement their CFL experience with casino gaming. Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, the home of the Alouettes, is a mere 15-minute drive to Casino Montreal, which is the second-biggest casino in the country. It has over 3,000 slots and almost any other type of casino game you can think of. This brings us to Toronto’s Great Canadian Casino Resort, which recently opened. With nearly 5,000 slots, 175 table games, and a 400-room hotel, it’s just 20 minutes from Rogers Centre. 

Still, not all casinos located near Canadian football cities feel a significant impact from CFL games. Calgary’s McMahon Stadium has at least 5 casinos nearby. Now, these casinos aren’t nearly the same caliber as the ones in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, but they still have a full spectrum of games and other key amenities. We can reasonably conclude that CFL games have moderately less impact on casino attendance in Calgary. It’s a similar story in Edmonton, Winnipeg, and most other CFL cities. When casino buffs leave stadiums in these cities, they have plenty of casino options, and any impact they have on casinos is spread out. 


Even though casinos near CFL stadiums enjoy a surge of visitors following home games, the size of that surge varies from city to city. Of course, other stadium events like concerts, trade shows, and exhibitions have the same effect. And it’s not only casinos that see larger crowds after CFL games, many other local businesses do, too.

One thing’s certain: You can enjoy a mix of live CFL football and casino gambling from late May through late November. You can conveniently combine the two in any CFL city, although some destinations are more highly recommended than others.

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Priyanka Chaudhary
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