Ontario kickstarts online betting operations today with FanDuel, BetMGM, BetRivers, PointsBet, others

As the Canadian province of Ontario launches its iGaming and online sports betting market todayoperators have expressed high hopes for the jurisdictionwhich is the largest in the country and the first to take bets in a legal private online gambling market.

As of Monday, April 4, 2022Ontarians are Able to wager on casino games, sporting events and other gambling activities through online websites and smartphone apps from operators registered to run activities in the province.

The number of registered operators as of April 1 was 25with more to comeaccording to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which regulates the industry. Even though not all sites will launch right away, Those that plan to take bets have been ramping up advertising to reach potential users ahead of the launch.

FanDuel Group launched a fully integrated real money online gaming experience in Ontario right on schedule with the FanDuel Sportsbook app and the FanDuel Casino app now available. The company announced on the week prior to the market opening that it would become part of the new Ontario online market scenario, and also announced its partnerships in the jurisdiction.

BetMGM is debuting in the province marking its 23rd operational jurisdiction. Its CEO Adam Greenblatt commented on the new North American iGaming market and said: “Today marks a significant milestone for BetMGM and a momentous occasion for sports fans and online players in Ontario. We’re confident that customers in Canada will enjoy the unique, interactive and world-class experience that only BetMGM can provide.”

BetMGM has also established partnerships with Canadian athletes to help reach players across the country. Hockey Hall of Fame member Wayne Gretzky and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid will appear in BetMGM’s upcoming marketing campaigns, In addition to the brand’s advertisements featuring Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx and Basketball Hall of Fame member Kevin Garnett.

Moreover, sports betting site PointsBet Canada has launched its marketing campaign ahead of the market opening at midnight on Monday. Curling Canada and other teams are partners with PointsBet and the company is working with the Trailer Park Boys on a series of online videos and ads. The Canuck comedy group is also set to host an in-person VIP launch party for the site in Toronto.

As reported by the Canadian Press, Spokesman with PointsBet, Patrick Eichner said the launch in Ontario is significant for the company, which has already come online in several US states with legalized online gambling. “Ontario is going to serve as sort of both the foundation and the mecca of Canadian sports betting, so you have to deliver on that first impression and have to be strong out of the gates.”

Richard Schwartz, CEO of Rush Street Interactive’s BetRiversstated that the company has hired 50 people in Toronto for its Ontario operations. The launch is important for the company as well as it is the largest jurisdiction in North America to legalize online casinos. BetRivers has run ads on Canadian TV during the Winter Olympics with former TSN anchor Dan O’Toole, as the company had never operated in the country pre-regulation and needed the local customer base to get familiar with the brand.

Canadian brand, theScore Bethas also been advertising online as well, featuring actors from television shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage. The company was also planning a weekend of launch parties from Saturday through Monday night for fans in Toronto.

Genius Sports also received regulatory approval from the AGCO on the day of Ontario’s market launchwith permission to launch operations right away under its Gaming-Related Supplier license.

The company’s CEO and Co-Founder, Mark Locke, commented on this milestone and said: “I am delighted that Genius Sports has become one of the first sportsbook providers to win approval from the AGCO. This approval underscores Genius Sports’ exemplary track record in compliance, and we are excited to be in a position to deliver our market-leading sportsbook data and technology to our customers in Ontario from day one.”

Also on April 4, ESE Entertainment announced that it has started a new division of its business focused on expanding its existing products and services to iGaming companies. ESE has focused on providing a range of services to video game developers, publishers and brands by providing technology, infrastructure and fan engagement services internationally; While also operating its own ecommerce channels, esports teams and gaming leagues. By introducing its iGaming division, the company intends to service registered iGaming companies by leveraging its expertise in the video game and esports markets.

ESE CEO, Konrad Wasielastated: The announcement that Canada will launch a new iGaming market in Ontario is groundbreaking. This opens an opportunity that cannot be ignored. Our company has the infrastructure and solutions to provide tier-one services to iGaming companies around the world. We believe this is an excellent opportunity for ESE to expand its offering into iGaming and leverage our complementary expertise in esports and gaming.”

Online gambling already existed in Ontario, mostly in the form of gray market websites operated outside Canadaand also through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., which launched its Proline+ sportsbook last summer after the federal government legalized single-event sports betting.

With the regulation of online gambling, the province aimed to protect consumers and provide choice. There have been some concernshowever, from Land-based casino operators and unions who fear the new market might impact revenues and jobs at their venues if they are taxed at a higher rate and lose customers.

According to an HLT Advisory for Great Canadian Gaming report, the largest casino operator in the province, There is a projected possibility of thousands of lost jobs and $2.8 billion in lost revenue at land-based casinos in the five years after the online market opens.

However, Ontario’s Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy’s spokeswoman Emily Hogeveen said in a statement that iGaming framework “will complement land-based gaming activity, not detract from it, by providing new opportunities for land-based gaming operators to diversify their offerings and cross-promote between online and land-based sites”The Canadian Press reported.

Responsible gambling is also at the forefront of priorities for the province. AGCO has set harm-reduction standards for operators, including the requirement that sites have a mechanism to monitor players for “experiencing harm”. Operators must display responsible gaming messages, access to 24-hour help resources and self-exclusion options.

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