BetRivers Joins Rush Of US Sportsbooks Going After Canada Sports Betting

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BetRivers has joined the rush of US operators expanding north of the border to Canada.

The company this week launched a free-play casino and sportsbook in Canada at

The free-play site will help BetRivers build a customer database before it launches real-money sportsbook and gaming in Ontario. That real-money launch could come in December, according to Ontario regulators.

New frontier for BetRivers

“Our expansion into Canada represents an exciting new frontier for Rush Street Interactive (RSI) and continues our growth across the Americas,” said Richard Schwartz, CEO of BetRivers parent RSI.

“We look forward to providing a truly differentiated gaming experience for players in Ontario that is focused on fostering player trust and enjoyment.”

Canada marks the third country where RSI operates real-money or social gaming after the US and Colombia.

Sticking with BetRivers brand?

RSI was the fourth-largest US operator across online casino and sports betting as of July 2021, per Eilers & Krejcik.

The BetRivers brand has seen better success in states where it has a retail presence like Illinois and Pennsylvania. But the relative lack of impact in states like Colorado has RSI looking at other brands for US sports betting, per reports.

The company has been linked with ESPN specifically, whether through M&A or a licensing deal for the ESPN brand.

What’s happening in ON sports betting now?

Sports betting in Canada officially became legal on a single-game basis on August 27.

Within that, the province of Ontario is moving towards an open licensing regime for ON sports betting and online casino.

Commercial operators aim to be live and taking bets by December this year.

Getting ready for Ontario sports betting

A variety of US operators are jockeying for position ahead of that launch. PointsBet, for instance, signed an advertising deal with Curling Canada.

Meanwhile, BetMGM has signed deals with The Hockey News and Wayne Gretzky

Elsewhere, Toronto-based theScore is targeting adult recreational hockey with a deal with Canlan Sports, which owns hockey arenas.

So far at the only Ontario sportsbook, early bettors have migrated toward NFL betting. DraftKings’ initial push into Canada was by expanding its DFS deal with the Shield.