Mohegan Announcement Puts Timing of Ontario Land-Based Retail Sportsbooks Back into Spotlight

Mohegan Announcement Puts Timing of Ontario Land-Based Retail Sportsbooks Back into Spotlight
By Mark Keast

PlayFallsview, operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), has launched an Ontario online casino after completing an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario.

That’s significant since this is the first land-based operator to be granted a license to operate an online casino brand.

So that also has people wondering again about the timing of land-based, bricks-and-mortar sportsbook launches, since MGE operates a number of entertainment resorts, including Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara. When will casinos be able to set up sports book lounge areas?

At the June SiGMA conference in Toronto we approached the AGCO for a comment about where the province sits with the licensing and launch of land-based, retail sports betting at casinos, in part for live in-game Ontario sports betting.

“The Government of Ontario is working with the OLG and casino operators on a model for sports betting,” said Raymond Kahnert, an AGCO spokesperson. “All land-based gaming is conducted and managed by the OLG. This includes sports betting in casinos. The AGCO is committed to ensuring that all gaming in Ontario — including sports betting in casinos when it becomes available — is conducted with honesty and integrity for the benefit of Ontarians.

“The AGCO has established a strong regulatory framework to ensure the public interest is protected when sports betting in land-based casinos rolls out in the province.”

Said a spokesperson from OLG: “OLG continues working with the Ontario government and our casino service provider partners to enable service providers to offer sports betting at Ontario casinos.”

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More Movement in Ontario Coming Soon?

How much of the delay is at the government’s feet is anyone’s guess. With the election and the release of the budget, industry stakeholders are pushing to get this back on the top of the government’s agenda, we’re hearing. And we saw that “Sportsbook Supervisor” ad for Casino Niagara pop up recently as well, suggesting a ramp-up.

We’ve spoken with several sources in the recent past who’ve expressed their frustration over the slow pace in getting this all up and running in the province, especially since we’re nearly at the one-year anniversary of the new law making single-game sports betting legal in Canada. 

Part of the announcement back in April when theScore Bet Ontario signed on with the Blue Jays was the future “branded, premium, 365-days-a-year flagship sports bar and restaurant at Rogers Centre that will serve as a destination for fans.”

Back in May, Mohegan announced a multi-year deal with Kambi Group where MGE would leverage Kambi’s technology and mobile sports betting offering for its PlayFallsview online brand.

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New Integrated Sports Betting App for OLG

Speaking of OLG, this week it announced the launch of a new Ontario sports betting app that combines the current bet building functionality for in-store purchases with direct online wagering into one integrated app for both retail and online players. Bettors can purchase PROLINE tickets at nearly 10,000 retail locations across the province.

Said Dave Pridmore, OLG’s chief digital and strategy officer: "The new app gives players the unprecedented ability to make a sports bet directly on the app or at retail using the bet builder functionality. This latest product enhancement reinforces our commitment to convenience and choice for our players while also offering a competitive sports book with the confidence, trust, and goodwill of the OLG brand."

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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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