The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario released a draft of regulations for Ontario sports betting last week.
Ontario is the most-anticipated province for sports betting in Canada and aims to be a “competitive and regulated market” live in late 2021. The Ontario sports betting regulations were released as highlighted additions to the province’s standards for internet gaming.
The AGCO seeks feedback on the regulations, with an August 18 submission deadline.
Ontario sports betting regulatory basics
Officials want a consumer-friendly open market in Ontario. Regulators look to achieve that while increasing provincial revenue.
The regulations also allow for daily fantasy sports, esports betting and in-play betting. Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns told LSR earlier this year the CGA is encouraging provinces to “put all the pieces in place right away.”
“We don’t want them to hold back and do this now and some later,” Burns said. “We’re encouraging that all the offerings [are] in their initial launch.”
Maintaining Ontario sports betting integrity
Multiple senators expressed concerns about match-fixing during the legislative process for bill C-218, which passed June 22.
The bill amended a line in the Canadian Criminal Code to allow single-event sports betting. That simplicity left specific rules against match-fixing out of the legislation.
Many of the draft regulations aim to prevent match-fixing and to address other integrity concerns.
Just how big is the ON market?
Ontario is the fifth-largest market in the US and Canada. Its population of nearly 15 million makes it a sought-after market for sportsbooks in Canada.
The province is home to more than 35% of the nation’s population and Canada’s largest city, Toronto. The city offers a vibrant sports culture with teams in the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and Canadian Football League. Ontario is also home to two other CFL franchises and the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.
At the moment, Ontario is also the only province clearly aiming for an open market. Several provincial lotteries are ready to expand on existing parlay sports betting products when C-218 goes into effect.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still has to set the effective date.
Operators line up for Ontario
Perhaps most optimistic about their chances for significant market share are executives at Toronto-based theScore. On Thursday, the company announced a partnership with Canlan Sports, which owns hockey arenas across North America, targeting adult recreational hockey leagues.
PointsBet is building out its Canada operation with an executive team that includes former Rogers Communications SVP Scott Vanderwel and former Monkey Knife Fight President Nic Sulsky.
BetMGM announced partnerships with The Hockey News and Wayne Gretzky, while DraftKings expanded its DFS partnership with the NFL to include Canada.