It’s been a long wait, but it finally arrived on Monday: Regulated Ontario sports betting is now fully open for business.
Operators PointsBet Canada, theScore Bet, Coolbet Canada, FanDuel Ontario, BetMGM Ontario and BetRivers announced on social media or via email they had launched early Monday.
"Today is a great day for Ontario sports fans! On behalf of the entire PointsBet Canada team, I’d like to share how thrilled we are to see the province’s sports wagering market officially open," Scott Vanderwel, CEO of PointsBet Canada, said in a news release. "Just 50 seconds after 12:00 am ET, PointsBet Canada became one of the first private sportsbooks to take a legal wager, and shortly after accepted a $500 two-leg parlay of UNC over Kansas and the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Over the past few months, our team has been scaling and preparing for today. We have quadrupled in size since the beginning of the year and continue to build partnerships with the athletes, teams, and organizations that matter to Canadians and share great alignment with our core brand values."
Legalized Last June
June 23 of last year seems long ago, in many ways, doesn’t it? That’s when Bill C-218, legalizing single-event sports betting in Canada, was passed by the Canadian Senate. That’s a day that will be marked forever in the minds of Canadian sports bettors.
From there it went from “what if” to “when.” Existing provincial lottery commissions added single-game betting to existing online sportsbooks. In Ontario that was the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., which launched its PROLINE+ brand on Aug. 27.
Then in January there was the announcement of an official countdown to a launch day for Ontario – April 4. This day has been anticipated since it was announced that it was the targeted date.
On Friday there was a final push toward new additions to the AGCO website posting the registrations of Internet Gaming Operators. That number is now at 27.
Operators who have successfully registered with the AGCO must also execute an Operator Agreement with iGaming Ontario before they can legally operate in the province. iGaming Ontario was established by the province in 2021 to conduct and manage internet gaming in the province when provided through private gaming operators.
The wait is over!— theScore Bet (@theScoreBet) April 4, 2022
Ontario, meet @theScoreBet. 🇨🇦
Download now: https://t.co/v84nNiYfkH pic.twitter.com/2XyW7E3smZ
13 Have Signed Operating Agreements
Thirteen operators are now registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and have signed an operating agreement with iGaming Ontaio, according to its website:
- BetMGM Ontario
- PointsBet Canada
- BetRivers Ontario
- theScore Bet Ontario
- Caesars Ontario
- FanDuel Ontario
- Bet 365
- 888 Sport
- Royal Panda
Other Operators Registered with AGCO
In addition to the 13 who have registered with AGCO and have executed iGaming Ontario operating agreements, here are the other internet gaming operators approved — as of April 1 — to launch in Ontario no earlier than Monday, according to the AGCO website. Two were added late Friday — bwin and party online casinos:
- Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp.
- Dream Vegas
- Gate 777
- Hello Casino
- Jackpot Village
Taking Out the Grey Market
Grey market sportsbooks — those companies licensed in other jurisdictions but accepting bets in jurisdictions where they are not licensed, will now be considered illegal if they don’t have these agreements with the AGCO and iGaming Ontario.
How big can the market get? That list of operators could eclipse 30. How many will offer sports betting? We will have to wait and see. A Deloitte Canada report estimated the legalization of single-event sports betting in Canada could hit close to $28 billion within five years.
Why is Ontario Such a Big Deal?
Ontario is Canada’s most populous province — 15 million people. That would make Ontario the fifth largest U.S. state.
Legal sportsbooks in New York state, with a population of 19.3 million, collected $1.54 billion in wagers in February (yes, we know the Super Bowl was played that month), and $1.7 billion when legal sports betting debuted there in January.
It remains to be seen how high the Ontario online casino and sports betting markets can become, but they should get off to a good start Monday with the NCAA men’s basketball championship Monday night between Kansas and North Carolina.
Then the Masters begins this week with at least one Canadian, Corey Conners, given a fair chance to win after two straight Top 10 finishes at Augusta.
And don’t forget the Toronto Blue Jays. They open the season this week and have the fourth-best odds to bring home a World Series title.