Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Names FanDuel, PokerStars Gaming Partners

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Names FanDuel, PokerStars Gaming Partners
By Mark Keast

And there it is: We’ve been waiting to hear where one of the world’s premier sports and entertainment companies would land on regulated sports betting.

Well, now we know: FanDuel Sportsbook Ontario and PokerStars (both owned by Flutter Entertainment) announced Friday morning their partnership with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) for Ontario sports betting.

MLSE owns the Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC of Major League Soccer and the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, as well as the minor-league farm teams for the Leafs, Raptors and FC.

The company also owns Scotiabank Centre, OVO Athletic Centre, with investments and management involvement in BMO Field, Coca-Cola Coliseum (home of the AHL Marlies), and Lamport Stadium.

FanDuel Sportsbook Ontario will be designated as an official sports betting partner, and PokerStars is the official gaming partner (the PokerStars launch is subject to successful registration with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and the execution of an Operating Agreement with iGaming Ontario).

The regulated single-game Ontario sports betting market launched in the province Monday. Prior to launching in the market Monday, FanDuel shut down its Daily Fantasy Sports platform.

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More Details of the Agreement

Both FanDuel and PokerStars can use MLSE team marks in advertising and marketing, according to a news release. FanDuel Sportsbook, PokerStars Casino and PokerStars will be featured throughout Leafs and Raptors games via rink board and on-court signage.

There will be extensive marketing integrations with all of MLSE’s teams as well, aimed at creating interactive integrations with sports fans, the release said.

“The Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC are pioneering franchises and major pillars in Canadian sports culture,” Dale Hooper, general manager of FanDuel Canada, said in the release. “As we bring FanDuel to Ontario, we want to collaborate with globally recognized enterprises like MLSE to bring unique content experiences to some of Canada’s most dedicated sports fans.”

Said Jordan Vader, senior vice president, global partnerships, MLSE: “As the Online Gaming markets open in Ontario, we have worked hard to find partners who aligned with both our vision for innovation, and our values, including a shared commitment to responsible gaming. We look forward to working with Flutter and providing a platform for them to engage with the millions of 19+ Ontario residents who are fans of our teams.”

One question will be if and when MLSE creates sports betting lounges in each of their venues, like we see at NFL stadiums in the U.S., for example.

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FanDuel Looking to Own Canada

This is the third big deal announced this week by FanDuel.

On Thursday, the NHL announced that FanDuel and BetMGM will be betting partners of the league in Canada and the U.S. in multi-year deals.

The two sportsbooks will have rights to use official NHL branding and category designations in a whole variety of ways, targeting fans and sports bettors, according to a news release announcing the agreements.

FanDuel Ontario and BetMGM Ontario will also be worked into the NHL’s marquee events across North America.

On Monday, FanDuel and The Sports Network announced a multi-year partnership making the sportsbook the official betting partner of the network, starting in Ontario.

The TSN/FanDuel deal will extend to all Canadian provinces and territories when they launch their sports betting markets.

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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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