Coolbet Shutting Down Ontario Online Betting Operation

Coolbet Shutting Down Ontario Online Betting Operation
By Mark Keast
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

We have certainly written a lot about the number of licensed operators that have been opening up shop in the Ontario online casino market since it opened last April 4.

This time the announcement is that one of those operators is shutting down.

That’s the news from Coolbet, which has this post on its website:

“We regret to inform you that after having operated for a year in Ontario, we will stop offering our services to all the cool people of Ontario after April 3.”

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Coolbet Takes Steps Toward Ontario Closure

The operator then lays out all of the steps that would concern customers during the shutdown. Coolbet will turn off all deposit options on March 21, encouraging people to withdraw their funds as soon as possible.

The company will close its Ontario sportsbook app and online casino on March 22, offering a support email if, after April 3, people still have remaining balances in their account.

The question of who and how many would survive long term in a competitive Ontario market is starting to take shape. There is only so much market share to go around.

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Still 43 Ontario Online Casino Apps

Even with Coolbet’s departure, there will still be 43 licensed companies operating live online Ontario casino apps.

“It was definitely a bit of a surprise to read the news about Coolbet exiting Ontario, but I suppose if you apply some rational thought it makes sense that some operators will choose not to continue in Ontario,” said Aly Lalani, head of marketing for BetRegal, which is still waiting on AGCO licensing.

“The sheer amount of licensed operators has caused a hyper-competitive environment. With so many suitors bidding for the same inventory/partnerships/sponsorships, the marketing costs are significantly higher than we initially anticipated. I would assume that would apply to others that didn’t necessarily anticipate how frenzied it would be in Ontario in Year 1.”

Those online casino options, or iGaming, include popular Ontario online slots apps as well as card games, roulette and more.

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Some Whittling Down Anticipated

Lalani said he anticipated the method of whittling down operators would happen through acquisitions, rather than operators choosing not to continue operating under license.

“I anticipate that Coolbet did the appropriate analysis and came to the strategic conclusion that fighting against the largest operators, who don’t seem concerned with profitability, was a battle that couldn’t be won,” he added. “The more we see the evolution of the Ontario market, and the huge numbers in terms of marketing costs (instead of GGR), I do believe there will be a ‘late mover advantage’ to some degree, in that the largest operators in the market are investing millions of dollars introducing a category to an emerging market.

“There will be some value to operators stepping in at a later stage to benefit from this audience education. I would love to say that the fact that BetRegal isn’t in the market yet was a shrewd strategic move as we wait for the dust to settle. It was not. However, it’s looking more and more like sitting back, and letting the big marketing budgets initially fight it out over artificial market share, is a viable strategy.”

Compare the best Ontario sports betting options at OntarioBets, where you’ll find a list of features and perks plus reviews of each operator.

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Mark Keast

Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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