Sports betting is set to start soon in Ontario, with operators steadily gaining approval for launch via the Alcohol and Gaming Commission. The latest to receive approval includes FanDuel, Unibet, and Coolbet. The operators still need to complete an agreement with iGaming Ontario to officially launch sports betting services in the province.
A Large Market Preparing to Launch
The Commission has approved several companies over the last few weeks as the sports betting industry looks to launch on April 4. BetRivers and 888 Sportsbook were among those approved. For BetRivers, its parent company, Rush Street Interactive, has already been involved in the industry somewhat, having launched a free play sports betting option in Canada back in October.
For FanDuel, the brand has been prepping for an Ontario launch for quite some time. In 2021, the company hired Dale Hooper to act as its Canada services general manager. The company plans to provide sports betting differently in Canada than in the United States. FanDuel will localize its sportsbook for bettors in Canada, hoping to capture the market share in Ontario in the process.
Online sports betting has already begun in Ontario via ProLine+. Ontario Lottery and Gaming expanded its products and services to include online sports betting in August of last year. Several provincial lotteries began offering services at the exact same time as single-event sports betting was legalized.
ProLine+ has secured partnerships after launching its sportsbook, including deals with the NHL and NFL. The lottery offers a wide selection of retail sports betting options via over 10,000 retailers within the province.
Ready for an Open Market
Back in January, the province announced that an open market for single-game online sports betting would launch on April 4. This would allow an unlimited number of commercial operators to gain licensing.
The move became possible after Canadian lawmakers decided to change legislation last year to allow legalized wagering on single bets involving football, ice hockey, and baseball events, along with other sports. Known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, the measure gave individual jurisdictions the right to detail how it would license and regulate the new betting options.
It is expected that the open market will do well in Ontario, as the province has over 13 million residents. With major companies in the mix, it is expected that a record-setting number of wagers will be placed along with big revenue earnings. It will be interesting to see how the industry fares once it launches in the next few weeks.