In Ontario Sports Betting, What Exactly Does ‘Tier One’ Mean?

Written By Brad Allen on December 3, 2021 - Last Updated on January 10, 2022
Ontario sports betting

GAN announced Thursday a deal to provide its technology to a “tier one” US sportsbook operator for Ontario sports betting.

The only problem? GAN cannot say which one.

Why so secret?

GAN said in a press release that its Ontario sportsbook partner wanted to remain anonymous until it received an operating license.

The provider said it had to announce the deal now so it could start working with third-party suppliers for payments, content and other technical services.

So who is the mystery partner?

The “tier one” tag appears to narrow it down to FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM, based on current US market share.

FanDuel is the heavy favorite. The operator used GAN’s sportsbook technology to launch quickly in the US before migrating onto its proprietary tech stack.

GAN also runs online casino for FanDuel in several states.

What is GAN providing?

GAN will provide its player account management (PAM) platform and online casino tech. The partner will provide the sportsbook engine.

“We are very excited to sign our first B2B client in the newly regulated Ontario iGaming market,” said GAN CEO Dermot Smurfit.

“We expect the market to be an important source of future growth due to the province’s population size and we are thrilled to have a trusted and proven-at-scale tier-1 operator as a partner.” 

When will Ontario sports betting go live?

The Ontario sports betting market technically went live on Aug. 27, though only the lottery-run ProLine+ is taking bets.

Commercial operators are still waiting — perhaps impatiently — for licenses and a firm go-live date.

That was initially slated to happen in late 2021 but has been delayed. 

Operators positioning for Ontario sports betting

PointsBet appears to be the most-active commercial sportsbook in Canada so far, building out an experienced executive team. It also partnered with Dailyfaceoff.com and The Nation Network of sports-focused websites in Canada.

Toronto-based theScore, which Penn National Gaming acquired in August, hopes for a significant share of the Canada sports betting market. The media and sports betting company partnered with Canlan Sports, which owns arenas across North America, targeting adult rec hockey leagues.

BetMGM looks to secure a hockey following, partnering with The Hockey News and Wayne Gretzky. DraftKings expanded its NFL daily fantasy sports partnership to include Canada.

Why operators want in on Ontario

With a population of nearly 15 million people, Ontario would be the fifth-largest US state. An Eilers & Krejcik report on Canadian sports betting estimates Ontario sportsbooks could generate up to CAD $570 million in sports betting revenue in 2022.

Its largest city, Toronto, is a prime North American sports hub with teams in the MLS, NBA, NHL and MLB, as well as the Canadian Football League. Elsewhere in Ontario, Ottawa has an NHL and a CFL team. Hamilton also has a CFL team.

An open market will also likely help with pricing, which proved to be an early issue with Alberta’s lottery offering. More operators with better pricing would also likely draw more bettors to the legal market.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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