Sports Interaction now has regulatory approval for Ontario sports betting after initially suggesting it would remain in the unregulated market,
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario issued Sports Interaction an internet gaming license last week and it is now live this week. Entain took over ownership of Sports Interaction earlier this year, but Mohawk Online operates the sportsbook in Canada.
There was speculation Sports Interaction would remain in the gray Ontario sports betting market because of its relationship with the sovereign Mohawk Council of Kahnawáke.
“It’s been frustrating for our partner, Entain, who’s been engaged with the Ontario regulators,” Kahnawáke Chief Mike Delisle wrote in an email to LSR. “We are pleased that it has finally worked itself through their process. We are continuing to look to meet with the AGCO and the Ontario government officials to look at a continuing relationship to avoid these issues in the future.”
Ontario sports betting gaining tribal entity
Previously, the Kahnawáke told LSR that Sports Interaction would remain regulated by the Kahnawáke Gaming Commission for Canada sports betting.
“It [is] already licensed by our gaming commission, therefore, no need, we’ve been operating since 2015,” Delisle told LSR earlier this year. “Nor are we open to paying any fees or taxes to a foreign government.”
The Kahnáwake and other First Nations entities continue to desire explicit inclusion in the Canadian sports betting industry.
Entain goes deep in Ontario
When Entain acquired Sports Interaction, the Mohawk suggested Entain would go into the regulated Ontario market with its other brands.
Entain did indeed apply early with its brand Party and bwin brands. Its joint venture with MGM Resorts, BetMGM, was also among the first sportsbooks to launch in the regulated Ontario market.
During Entain’s earnings call this month, Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen said the company is on track with its expectations for Ontario. That would mean high single digits in market share.
Gray market advantages in Ontario
Operators that were live before the launch of regulated Ontario sports betting appear to have a leg up on new sportsbooks in the province. The gray market operators can transition into the regulated market with their existing databases.
While there is no indication yet how the market is performing, multiple operators suggested former gray market sportsbooks were ahead in market share during recent earnings calls.
Multiple sources told LSR bet365, a former gray market platform, is likely dominating the early months of Ontario sports betting. Sports Interaction could also be a significant player with its long-standing status as an active operator in the province.
Other gray market operators that have made the switch, or are looking to, include: