Come early next month, legal single-sports betting and online gambling will significantly expand in Ontario.
Single-sports betting has been legal since last year in Canada, but so far in Ontario it has been limited to the provincially run PROLINE+.
On April 4, however, that will change as Ontario launches an internet gambling market, named iGaming.
Up until last year, legal sports bets were limited to parlays. That changed when the Canadian government passed a bill last summer legalizing single-game betting.
Prior to legalization, however, residents were still able to access some overseas sites that offered single-game betting opportunities, like bet365. But in Canada, gambling organizations are required to be regulated by the government.
Next month, several operators have so far been approved to go live in Ontario, removing grey areas in the market.
In order to operate legally in the province come April 4, operators must secure registration with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and obtain an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the AGCO. The operators then enter revenue-sharing agreements with the province.
“The AGCO continues to work with and help prepare operators and gaming-related suppliers for the launch of Ontario’s new iGaming market on April 4, 2022,” the AGCO’s website says.
“Not every operator will be ready to launch their services on day one. Some are more ready than others. This means Ontario’s new iGaming market will steadily expand in the weeks and months following the market’s launch.”
According to Bookies.com, the following sites have received approval to go live on April 4:
- BetMGM Ontario
- FanDuel Ontario
- Rush Street Interactive’s BetRivers brand
- Royal Panda
“That list of approved sportsbook operators does not yet include major brands such as DraftKings Ontario, Caesars, Betway and BallyBet, which are expected to receive licenses prior to Ontario’s launch day or soon thereafter,” bookies.com said.
Greg Warren, who covers sports betting in Canada for Sportshandle.com and USBets.com, told The Canadian Press Monday that the list of licenced operators could grow up to 30.
“Not all of them are going to be sports betting, but I would imagine at least two-thirds of those will be offering sports betting,” he said.
“It’s going to be a very big deal.”
A report by Deloitte Canada estimated the legalization of single-event sports betting in Canada could grow to close to $28 billion within five years.
“Today, most internet gaming by Ontarians takes place on websites not conducted and managed by the province,” iGaming executive director Martha Otton said in a statement earlier this year.
“Our new internet gaming market will give consumers enhanced entertainment choice, support the growth of a new, legal market and generate revenue that can help fund programs and services that benefit all of us.”
And it won’t just be sports betting that Ontarians will be able to do legally online on private sites.
“Where the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) casino, poker and sports betting offering were once the only option, players in Ontario will now be able to select from different gaming options with even more variety,” the iGaming website says.
The new regulated market will ensure that operators “have met rigorous standards of game integrity, fairness, player protections and social responsibility,” iGaming says.
The full list of authorized operators will be available on the iGaming website come April 4. Every site fully registered and authorized will have iGaming’s logo displayed.
— With files from The Canadian Press