Several months after the Ontario sports betting market opened its online wagering options, there is now a new retail sportsbook in the province.
Patrons gathered into Caesars Sportsbook at Caesars Windsor, just south of Detroit, for the first time Wednesday to place wagers in person.
Hockey great Grant Fuhr was there for the grand opening, taking part in the ceremonial first bet, with any wins benefitting The Grant Fuhr Foundation. They also launched Caesars for a Cause, with Caesars Windsor Cares donating $1 from every specialty Caesar ordered from the Drinks & Bites menu to The Hospice at Windsor and Essex County.
Retail Sportsbooks Arrive Well After Ontario Mobile Sports Betting
The opening of retail sportsbooks in Ontario, where bettors can jump onto regulated platforms to live bet on their favorite teams, comes after Ontario sportsbook apps arrived on the scene in April.
The mobile sports betting option is most convenient, but many bettors also like the in-person experience that, not long ago, they’d have to trek to Atlantic City or Las Vegas to experience.
But it sure took a long time, didn’t it? The AGCO opened the Ontario market to private operators in early April. And it was the summer of 2021 when single-game sports betting was decriminalized.
The in-person Caesars Sportsbook Ontario isn’t large by any means — it’s in front of Legends Sports Bar at Caesars Windsor. The facility has 1,618 square feet of space, 22 large-screen HD LED TVs and dedicated seating for around 50 people. Staff members are there to help guests place their bets and do so responsibly.
Caesars a Player in Ontario Gambling Market
The new sportsbook is part of a push to earn a piece of the Canadian gaming dollar by Caesars. The big-name player also offers the Caesars online casino Ontario in addition to the mobile sportsbook.
As far as in-person wagering, casino companies like Great Canadian Entertainment also offer sports betting at kiosks at their Ontario properties, and retail sportsbook operations are at major casino properties such as Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara as well.
What about live in-person sports betting via theScore Bet Ontario Sportsbook at the Rogers Centre restaurant/bar this summer, for example? There certainly is some buzz around the Blue Jays, a team with which theScore has a partnership. Is that the next stage in the industry’s evolution, bringing the live experience to Canadians, creating that “Vegas North” feel?
Regarding retail sportsbook in casinos, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation owns the 28 casinos in Ontario but contracts out management of the properties.
On several occasions over the past six to eight months, OntarioBets.com quoted industry insiders who expressed frustration at the slow pace in getting the sign-off from OLG to allow for retail sports betting in casinos. Those in-person sportsbooks began opening in October.
Reaction to Caesars Windsor Sportsbook
Susanne Tomkins, a spokesperson for Caesars Windsor, talked about how the casino worked in close tandem with OLG during the planning and construction of their new facility, which started in late 2021.
“As we went through each stage of the process, the OLG would review as we hit every milestone,” she said. “It was all completed in conjunction with approvals from OLG. It was a pretty seamless process.”
Like at a lot of casinos in the province now, patrons were using the kiosks to bet live if they were not taking advantage of Ontario online casinos. Now they can sit in a comfortable environment with friends, have a meal or a beer and watch and bet. Counter services are there for people who might have questions about different types of bets.
“We’re looking at planning special events for our guests, but nothing is firmed up right now,” she added.
Caesars Windsor president Kevin Laforet said: “We’re thrilled to offer sports bettors a chance to get in on the action with all their favorite sports and enjoy the thrill of single event betting as part of our world-class resort experience at Caesars.”
Stay with OntarioBets.com for the latest information on all types of betting, including reviews of Ontario casino apps.