Drake Got Tons Of Press For $1.6M In Bitcoin Super Bowl Bets, But They Aren’t Legal In Ontario

Written By Martin Derbyshire on February 17, 2022 - Last Updated on February 28, 2022
Drake Super Bowl Bets Ontario Sports Betting Bitcoin

According to his ‘champagnepapi‘ Instagram account, where he posted screenshots of three massive six-figure bet slips, Canadian rapper, singer, hip hop artist, and actor Drake made some rather large bets on Sunday’s Super Bowl.

But were those bets — made with cryptocurrency and placed with an offshore sportsbook licenced in Curaçao — legal?

According to screenshots, the bets were apparently placed in Bitcoin on the offshore platform Stake.

Drake represented the following bets:

  • $600,000 on the Rams Super Bowl LVI moneyline (1.51 odds)
  • $500,000 on the Odell Beckham Jr. anytime touchdown scorer prop (2.15)
  • $500,000 on the Odell Beckham Jr. over 62.5 receiving yards prop (1.81)

Of course, the Rams won 23-20 and Drizzy’s moneyline bet paid out $906,000. Plus, Beckham scored a TD, paying Drake another $1.075 million.

In fact, the only bet of the three he didn’t win was the OBJ over 62.5 receiving yards prop. Beckham only racked up 52 yards before suffering an injury in the second quarter. He looked like a lock to help Drake sweep the bets, but Beckham injured his knee before halftime and missed the rest of the game. Instead, Drake had to settle for a total of $381,000 in profit off the $1.6 million he wagered.

Drake received headlines all over the internet, especially as sports betting tales have now shifted into the mainstream media.

Fact check: Drake’s bets not part of legal betting market

It’s worth noting that Drake’s bets are not regulated ones in Ontario, as the Ontario, Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s product Proline Plus is the only legal Ontario online sportsbook authorized by the province at present.

The rest of the province’s private market of operators are set to launch on April 4 (check out our live countdown clock at that link!).

Stake is not known to be part of Ontario’s upcoming regulated sports betting landscape.

To be clear, the authorities won’t be knocking on Drake’s door. But with a regulated market on the way soon, how authorities combat offshore operations after the launch is a story we’ll be watching.

And of course, OLG is likely uninterested in handling the liability that a Drake-sized bet would give to the provincial lottery. So we don’t blame Drake for another handful of weeks.

‘All bets are in on the family’

Along with the bet slips, Drake’s Instagram post read “All bets are in on the family.”

Presumably, he’s saying he and Beckham are like brothers and he put some big bets down on his bro. Drake and OBJ are reportedly long-time friends. Drake’s fourth photo from the post of the bets was presumably of OBJ’s gloves from LSU.

Beckham appeared in a few Drake music videos, and the pair has been known to work out together. OBJ told DraftKings’ Face 2 Face YouTube show he stayed at Drizzy’s house while the rapper worked on his 2016 album Views.

All this begs the question: Is Drake betting this big on other members of the family?

Family ties: Drake is tied in with Toronto Raptors

There’s little doubt Drizzy considers Canada’s NBA team ‘fam.’ He can be found sitting in his next-to-the-bench courtside seat at a good number of Toronto Raptors home games at Scotiabank Arena.

He regularly daps up Raps players on the court and famously gave head coach Nick Nurse a stress-relieving shoulder massage during an Eastern Conference Finals game while the Raptors made the 2019 championship run.

The thing is, Degrassi: The Next Generation’s Jimmy Brooks is more than just a famous Raptors fan. In September 2013, it was announced Toronto would host the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. At the same press conference, the team also named Drake its global ambassador.

What is an NBA global ambassador?

There’s no telling exactly what the job of global ambassador entails. Drake has been credited with helping create the popular ‘We The North’ marketing campaign and the ‘Welcome Toronto’ program. Though the program, the Raps have worn Drake-brand OVO uniforms, played on a black and gold ‘Welcome Toronto’ home court, and donated $2 million to Canada Basketball and another $1 million to refurbish local Toronto basketball courts.

There was even a rumour going around that Drake would be designing the Dinos’ 2019 championship rings. That rumour didn’t turn out to be true.

But Champagne Papi did have Jason of Beverly Hills make him a $150,000 and 30-carat diamond championship ring following the team’s 2019 NBA title.

Plus, Drake inspired the 2021 Toronto Raptors City Edition jerseys, which look a lot like the OVO ‘Welcome Toronto’ unis with an old-school basketball-playing dinosaur Raps logo.

All that said, Drake isn’t betting big or small on his Raptors family. That’s because, despite Raptor All-Star point guard Fred Van Vleet’s ‘Bet On Yourself’ mantra, NBA families can’t bet on themselves.

As an NBA ‘family member,’ Drake can’t bet on games

To protect the integrity of NBA games and avoid any questions about point-shaving, match-fixing, or any improprieties, sportsbooks simply won’t allow it.

Not only are NBA players barred from betting on NBA games, but anyone employed by an NBA team, associated with any team, or the NBA itself, is prohibited from placing a bet on basketball.

As the Raptors’ Global Ambassador, Drake probably isn’t cashing a bi-weekly paycheck like a typical employee of the organization might be. But, the same rules apply, which means there’s not a legal sportsbook on the continent, online or off, that would be comfortable taking a Drizzy NBA bet.

Legally, they just can’t do it. Most sportsbooks post rules stating they won’t take NBA bets from any person affiliated with the league.

Plus, the NBA has a policy where any person involved with the league or its teams who bets on the NBA will face a “fine, suspension, expulsion and/or perpetual disqualification from further association with the Association or any of its Members.”

AGCO, sportsbooks also won’t allow Drake’s wagers

Further, according to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario website, in the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, under the section for Sports and Event Betting Integrity, it states:

For sporting events being bet on, the event must be effectively supervised by a sport governing body which must, at minimum, prescribe final rules and enforces codes of conduct that include prohibitions on betting by insiders (not applicable to novelty bets)

Here is an example of how an operator might draw up its own rules to cover such rules. According to DraftKings Sportsbook in Michigan: “Employees of a sports governing body or its members teams are prohibited from wagering on any event overseen by the relevant sports governing body … ”

Ultimately, this means Drake can’t bet on the Raptors. So, before you start asking questions, like can Van Vleet actually bet on himself? Or, can Auston Matthews bet on a Toronto Maple Leafs game? Re-read the above. The answer is obviously no.

Will any legal Canadian sportsbook take bitcoin?

No, they won’t.

The iGaming Ontario’s rules explicitly forbid this.

In the ‘Funds Management’ section, under deposits, the rules specifically added a note that “Cryptocurrency is not legal tender and shall not be accepted.”

Sorry, Drizzy.

But “hold on,” you should be “going home” to regulated books, and keeping bets in the province.

It’s hard to do these things alone.

Photo by Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press
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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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