Ontario Sports Betting Is Live: What To Know On Launch Day

Written By Pat Evans on April 4, 2022 - Last Updated on April 5, 2022
Ontario sports betting

Today marks the commercial launch of sports betting apps in Ontario.

The Canadian province would be the fifth-largest state in the US and presents a complex gaming jurisdiction. Learn more about which sportsbooks are live and Ontario sports betting here.

While there are plenty of online gaming operators with Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario approval, they also must enter into a commercial agreement with iGaming Ontario before launching ON sports betting. An AGCO release last month said operators would roll out slowly.

Which sportsbooks are in Ontario?

Since late January, the AGCO has approved more than two dozen sites for online gaming. LSR previously reported there are at least 30 operators seeking approval.

Sportsbooks with AGCO approval include:

  • 888
  • bet365
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • bwin
  • Caesars
  • Coolbet
  • FanDuel
  • PointsBet
  • Rivalry
  • theScore Bet
  • Unibet

There are also online gaming sites like WSOP, PartyRoyal Panda and LeoVegas approved. Some operators with intentions to launch in Ontario, like DraftKings, have not received AGCO approval as of Saturday afternoon.

“The AGCO continues to work with and help prepare operators and gaming-related suppliers for the launch of Ontario’s new igaming market on April 4, 2022,” the statement said. “Not every operator will be ready to launch their services on day one. Some are more ready than others. This means Ontario’s new igaming market will steadily expand in the weeks and months following the market’s launch.”

Ontario Lottery and Gaming’s ProLine+ has been live since August 2021.

Canadian companies jump into Ontario sports betting

Toronto-based theScore feels it is positioned well to grab Ontario market share. Penn National Gaming acquired theScore last year with that goal in mind.

More Canada-based companies are also planning to take part in Ontario sports betting. Northstar Gaming, which shares a parent company with the Toronto Star, will launch NorthStar Bets.

Rivalry Corp., also based in Toronto, will launch an esports-focused sportsbook.

Gray-market shift in Ontario

Canadians have been able to bet with gray-market operators. Those are sportsbooks that operated in the province’s previously unregulated ecosystem.

Several of the licensed sportsbooks are making the jump into the regulated market, including bet365, Unibet and 888. Before relaunching, those operators must settle previous wagers with bettors in Ontario.

“We want to convey our expectation that all prospective operators will make best efforts to conduct themselves in a fair, responsible and ethical manner during this transitional period,” an AGCO release said last month. “Operator conduct, and evidence of their commitment to the objectives of Ontario’s Standards, both leading up to and beyond the launch of the market, will be duly noted and reflected in the regulatory approach we take with each operator.”

How ON sports betting got here

Before Canadian lawmakers changed the Canadian Criminal Code last year to allow provinces to regulate single-event sports betting in Canada, Canadians could place parlay bets through provincial lotteries. The lotteries began launching expanded sports betting products in August 2021.

During the legislative process, Ontario regulators made their intentions clear they would open the province to commercial online gaming operators.

In January, the AGCO announced April 4 would be the launch date for commercial sports betting in Ontario.

Operators dive into Ontario sports betting

Following the law change last summer, sportsbook operators from outside Canada almost immediately started positioning for market awareness. PointsBet built out a Canadian staff and signed various partnerships with national sports governing bodies, fictional characters and a team from the Canadian Football League.

BetMGM is going for hockey fans, aligning with The Hockey News, Wayne Gretzky and Connor McDavid. 

FanDuel and Rush Street Interactive both announced executives to lead their Canadian efforts.

Ontario DFS shuts down

The regulations that allow for commercial online gaming do not come without a price. FanDuel pulled its daily fantasy sports product out of Ontario last week and other DFS operators will follow suit.

“When Ontario put forth their regulations, they were just not hospitable to daily fantasy sports,” Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association Board Member Peter Schoenke told LSR last week. “I don’t think it was intentional, but our industry was caught off guard. We’re hopeful [the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario] and elected officials hear from consumers and realize the need to address this issue.”

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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