April 4 is the launch date for licensed, regulated Ontario sports betting and iGaming markets in Ontario. Two months doesn’t seem like a long time. But that speaks to all the work that’s been done up to Friday’s announcement.
“iGaming Ontario has been working with operators for months,” Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns said. “Operators have been filing applications for registration with the AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) and working through the on-boarding process with IGO (iGaming Ontario). There was never an expectation every operator would be ready the first day. Those operators who filed and worked through the process early on will likely be ready.
“I expect operators to enter the Ontario market over the next several months as they are ready to do so. iGaming Ontario may have more details on the particulars of the market opening.”
With a population in the province of nearly 15 million, Ontario online casinos and sports betting are expected to put up numbers to rival the top legal U.S. sports betting states.
More Reaction to Friday’s News
Aly Lalani, director of marketing for BetRegal Ontario Casino, said “We've been waiting a long time for this.
”Four to five years ago, we first started talking about coming home again. We're looking forward to getting up in the air now,” Lalani said. “The Canadian sports fan is the party that really benefits. Customers will now have a credible, vetted place where they can go. And government can stop the flow of money into the grey market.”
"There's a lot of relief and excitement."
And this from Rivalry Corp. on the announcement: “We are very excited to learn that Ontario residents will have access to safe, regulated internet gaming on April 4th of this year,” Steven Salz, co-Founder and CEO of Rivalry, said in a statement. “We support this decision and believe it is the best way forward for the province. Rivalry has been involved in the Ontario licensing process since it was first announced, and we look forward to launching services in our home market.”
John Levy, CEO of theScore Ontario Sportsbook, said “we will be ready to launch theScore Bet in Ontario on April 4.”
“We commend the Ontario government for their tireless efforts throughout this process and are thrilled to now have a confirmed launch date,” Levy said. “The AGCO and iGaming Ontario have been thoughtful and collaborative in their approach to creating and managing this new industry, and the result is a soon-to-be-launched framework that will bring widespread benefits to Ontarians and establish Ontario as one of the biggest and most important regulated gaming markets in North America.”
Canada-Honduras Soccer Strong
Canada is in the driver’s seat for nailing down a spot in the 2022 World Cup, with a big 2-0 win in Honduras Thursday night. Canada comes home to take on the U.S. in a battle for first place in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings, with a match at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in snowy Hamilton.
According to a source, from a betting perspective, the Canada/Honduras game was the most popular soccer game of the week and the sixth most popular of the month so far for PROLINE+, the only place in the province currently where you can make a legal sports bet.
“Although not at the volume of an NFL playoff game but a strong showing for Canadian soccer nonetheless,” the source said.
The vast majority of the money (86%) was predictably on Canada to win. Bettors in Canada have certainly taken notice of the national team.
By comparison, the USA/El Salvador game was the 44th most popular soccer game of the week, bringing in less than 20% of the volume that the Canada game did. However, as heavy favorites, the majority (92%) of wagering was also on the U.S. to win.
The U.S. opened as favourites for this weekend’s game but those odds have quickly tightened. Odds are nearly the same across Home/Tie/Visitor outcomes.