British Columbia bettors are placing significantly more bets since the launch of single-event sports betting in Canada.
More than $25 million was wagered since the British Columbia Lottery Corp. launched its expanded PlayNow product in August, according to a BCLC release. Single-event sports betting in Canada became legal Aug. 27, depending on provincial regulations.
“This is a significant milestone for BCLC that demonstrates further how PlayNow.com is well-positioned to provide highly entertaining and engaging sports betting in a safe and secure environment,” BCLC Interim President and CEO Lynda Cavanaugh said in the release. “It’s important for players to know that playing with BCLC supports the success of British Columbia, as PlayNow.com is the only legal gambling website from which revenue supports important provincial initiatives, including healthcare and education.”
Big increases in BC sports betting
Prior to the legalization of single-event sports wagering, provincial lotteries only offered parlay bets. The new products are increasing bets, according to a BCLC release.
NFL betting increased 97% year-over-year through the first seven weeks of the season. The Week 4 game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots attracted the most action, with 69% of bets and 80% of the money wagered coming as single-event bets.
Hockey betting also increased significantly. NHL bets jumped 71% through the first 19 days of the season compared to the same period last year.
No plans to expand beyond lottery
British Columbia regulators have not expressed a desire to allow commercial operators into the province.
The BCLC statement said the organization “continues to explore additional opportunities to provide players with single-event sports betting in British Columbia.”
That is in contrast to the largest Canadian province, Ontario, which wants an open and competitive market. Ontario sports betting regulators aim for a commercial launch by the end of 2021.
Operators lining up for piece of Canada
Major US sports betting operators are preparing for a land grab, at least in Ontario. The province is home to 15 million residents, a figure that would make it the fifth-largest US state.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.‘s expanded sports betting product, ProLine+, generated 3.5 million bets from Aug. 27 until early October. NFL betting made up 34% of those bets.
The Ontario market alone could be worth up to CAD $570 million in sports betting revenue, according to an Eilers & Krejcik report.