The land-based casinos in Ontario are getting in on the sports betting action.
Caesars announced last week it opened a retail sportsbook at Caesars Windsor, its first full-service retail sportsbook in Ontario. There are additional sportsbooks in the pipeline for Ontario, according to Paul Burns, president and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association.
Single-event sports betting in Ontario launched with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.‘s ProLine+ in August 2021. The online commercial market opened in April 2022.
Windsor ready for retail sports betting
Caesars opened its sportsbook in Windsor, Ontario, with Hockey Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr placing the first bet. Caesars also has a mobile offering in Ontario for Canada sports betting.
Windsor is located directly across the Detroit River from Detroit, Michigan.
“It also now gives us a product that competes with the United States, which was sorely lacking,” Windsor-West Member of Parliament Brian Masse said at the opening, per Gaming News Canada. “That’s critical because without those types of amenities, we’re fighting with one arm tied behind our back. So it means protection of jobs and the continuation of services that could even expand in the future depending on how things go. But most importantly we’re no longer at a disadvantage.”
The sportsbook has three windows and seven kiosks set up in front of the casino’s Legends Sports Bar. The 1,618-square-foot space also has 22 large-screen TVs and a professional sound system.
Winding path for Ontario retail sportsbooks
In October 2022, the OLG announced casinos would start rolling out retail offerings.
“It is great to see the Caesars sportsbook open in Windsor,” Burns told LSR. “The Windsor community were huge champions of the effort to change the criminal code to permit single-event wagering. From our first bill sponsor in 2011 – [Members of Parliament] Joe Comartin and Brian Masse the local Members of Parliament to the Caesar’s employees and their union leaders at UNIFOR to the Mayor and business leaders. It was a full community effort.”
Burns said Fallsview and Great Canadian Gaming also opened some form of retail offerings at several of their casino properties across Ontario. Retail sportsbooks, however, might not move the needle much for the overall Ontario sports betting, as in US sports betting markets, online sportsbooks generally make up more than 90% of overall handle.