Week 1 Ontario Sports Betting Rollout Smooth; Still Waiting on DraftKings & BetRegal

Week 1 Ontario Sports Betting Rollout Smooth; Still Waiting on DraftKings & BetRegal
By Mark Keast

Where’s DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario? How about BetRegal?

They’ll both be coming soon to the Ontario sports betting market. Their specific launch dates have yet to be determined. Others are coming as well.

PokerStars, for example, part of the big Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment announcement Friday morning, still needs to work through a successful registration with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and get an Operating Agreement with iGaming Ontario.

By noon Friday, the AGCO had given out 27 internet gaming operator licenses. The week was one of huge partnership announcements (theScore Bet/Blue Jays; FanDuel and PokerStars/MLSE; TSN/FanDuel; and NHL/BetMGM and FanDuel). And by all accounts, the rollout across the market was smooth.

“This first week has been great,” said Dale Hooper, general manager of FanDuel Sportsbook Canada. “We’ve been thankful for the great interest Ontario sports fans have had in trying our sportsbook and casino product. Ontario has some incredibly passionate sports fans, and we're so proud to be providing them safe, engaging and, above all, fun ways to engage with the games they love.

”This week has also seen FanDuel solidify monumental partnerships … we are collaborating on analytics-driven content that allows sports fans to get deeper into each game."

"No first ever launch goes without issues and we appreciate all the feedback we’ve had to help us to deliver the world-class customer experience our customers are used to having across all our touchpoints."

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What Are People Betting On?

Interestingly, in terms of betting stats, what has stood out for PointsBet Canada’s trading content analyst Mike Korn so far has been betting on the Jays by Ontarians (PointsBet AL East winner odds: Blue Jays +175; New York Yankees +195; Tampa Bay Rays +320; Boston Red Sox +550, Baltimore Orioles +15000), in a province where hockey (especially the Leafs) typically stands out.

Hopper noted the most-bet on sport at FanDuel isn’t the one you would think of in Canada.

“Interestingly enough, basketball has been the most popular sport in our first week, with the most-bet-on event being Raptors versus Atlanta on April 5,” Hooper said. “The Masters and — of course — hockey have also been of strong interest to fans. Players have loved the special opportunities and Canadian-specific bets. We're looking forward to bringing more fun and relevant same game parlays to FanDuel fans in the weeks to come."

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‘Things Are Going Well’

Emotion and excitement about Friday’s home opener naturally trumps impartial analysis of the team’s opening day roster, PointsBet’s Korn added, especially when matched up against historical Jays killer Tampa Bay.

“On the launch, a bit general but I can confidently say that things are going well. The appetite of prospective sports bettors in Ontario was well publicized prior to the market opening, and we have seen that prove itself true,” said Patrick Eichner, senior director of communications for PointsBet Canada. “Our systems have been running smoothly while bringing those clients in the door during a jam-packed sports calendar.”

Other sportsbook operators report the same.

“I am very pleased with our launch,” said Amanda Brewer, country manager for Canada of Kindred Group (Unibet). “We experienced no technical difficulties and registrations, KYC and deposits are all working well. We decided to go with a soft launch and will be ramping up our digital and marketing communications starting next week.”

We reached out to DraftKings, and this is what we were sent: “DraftKings is working closely with provincial regulators to bring our top-rated mobile sportsbook and casino products to Ontario as soon as possible.”

So more on companies like DraftKings and BetRegal in the coming weeks.

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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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