Updated March 28
The Ontario market for regulated online betting and gaming continues to take shape with just days to go until the April 4 launch date.
In addition to the early approved operators including the likes of PointsBet, theScore Bet, World Series of Poker, 888, and Rush Street Interactive’s BetRivers, more big names have joined the wave in recent weeks.
As of March 24, the AGCO had 16 operators listed as licensed for an initial period of either one or two years:
- Annexio’s LottoGo brand
- Flutter’s FanDuel Ontario brand
- NSUS Ltd.’s WSOP brand
- Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG)
- PointsBet Canada
- LeoVegas’ Royal Panda brand
- Rush Street Interactive’s BetRivers brand
- theScore Bet
- Kindred’s Unibet brand
That list includes some of the United States’ biggest sportsbooks such as FanDuel and BetMGM. The latter of that pair has been busy securing ambassadorial deals with leading past and present Canadian NHL stars, while FanDuel and Flutter already have a Canadian presence with daily fantasy sports and online poker.
Meanwhile, major UK brand Bet365, which has been operating in Canada for several years as a grey-market sportsbook, is also listed as a licensed operator after launching its Canada App earlier in March. As many as one-third of Canadian online sports bettors are thought to possibly already wager with the bookmaker. “Google Trends directionally suggests that bet365 is likely one of the largest players, if not the largest player, in terms of Ontario online sports betting market share,” noted a report released last year by research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.
More steps to take
Receiving a license from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is not the final step for operators.
Registered operators must also satisfy other regulatory conditions and execute an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario (iGO) before they can legally go live. The iGO website warns operators to expect the process of registering with the AGCO registration and executing an iGO operating agreement to take at least 90 days.
As more operators receive their licenses to operate legally, the AGCO has warned that operators who are still in the process of securing a license when the legal market opens on April 4 must cease activities or else risk having their application rejected.
In addition, iGO says that online sportsbooks planning to launch in Ontario’s new market must first settle any action they’ve taken from players in the province, including outstanding futures bets. Covers reports this is already being addressed by some licensed operators such as Unibet, which says it will block Ontario customers from accessing its current Canadian website and instead direct them to a province-specific site, allowing them to opt-in and allow their Unibet account and funds to be migrated to the Ontario site or instead make a withdrawal request before April 4.
The supplier field expands
Meanwhile, on the supplier side, joining the likes of Vancouver’s FansUnite and Toronto’s Bragg Gaming are companies including global betting technology supplier Kambi, which says it will begin providing its leading sportsbook technology and services to operator partners from day one of the Ontario market’s opening, including its “unparalleled” ice hockey product and expansive Bet Builder capability.
Kambi has an existing agreement to provide its sportsbook solution to Toronto-based iGaming and sports media brand NorthStar Gaming, and also counts among its sportsbook partners the likes of AGCO-approved operators Rush Street Interactive, Unibet, 888sport, and LeoVegas.
Light & Wonder, the newly rebranded gaming division of Scientific Games, has also been granted a supplier license, which will allow it to provide its vast OpenGaming network, with it 2,500+ games, to licensed operators.
“We can’t begin to overstate how excited we are to be operating in Ontario, this is a market where our games have resonated with players for years and now to expand to the private sector is an incredible opportunity and fantastic milestone for the company,” said Light & Wonder Americas managing director Robert Hays.
Other suppliers including Play N Go, High 5 Games, Inspired Entertainment, and Nolimit City have also secured their licenses.