Sports betting in Canada progresses as Ontario makes its move

Sports betting in Canada continues to progress this year as Ontario prepares to remove the federal prohibition on single-game betting.

The Canadian province of Ontario is the largest by population with around 15 million residents. If we’re comparing it to US states, Ontario as a state would be ranked fifth largest by population – only behind California, Texas, Florida and New York.

Geographically, Ontario borders Michigan, one of the most recent states to legalize sports betting online and in-person back in January, 2021. The instant success experienced by the Michigan economy and the legal sportsbook operators in the Wolverine State will not have gone unnoticed across the border.

All of this makes Ontario an extremely exciting, and lucrative, location for sports betting operators taking on the Canadian sports betting market. We are here to inform you of the information currently available to those in Ontario regarding the upcoming changes to the province’s sports betting landscape.

Sports betting in Canada today

Bettors in Canada can currently place parlay bets on sporting events. However, this is as far as it goes. No single bets, in-play bets, spread bets etc.

On June 22, 2021, Canadian lawmakers passed a bill (C-218) to remove the federal prohibition on single-game betting throughout Canada. This change allows individual provinces like Ontario to regulate single-game sports betting.

Regulators in Ontario suggest that single-game betting will be live by the end of 2021.

What will sports betting in Ontario look like?

Ontario is already home to sports betting, but nowhere near the same opportunities and options exist compared to legal sports betting states in the US.

Anyone looking to place a parlay bet in Ontario has a few options through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. However, single-game betting is prohibited.

With the new bill in Ontario, residents will most likely be able to partake in single-game betting in all its glory by the end of 2021. Bettors in Ontario should prepare to be inundated with new sportsbook choices and new customer bonus opportunities.

With such a lucrative market available to sportsbook operators in Ontario, we expect to see all of the big names making a splash in this part of Canada when the time comes. We would be very surprised if the likes of DraftKings Sportsbook, BetMGM Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook were not operating in Ontario by the end of the year.

In addition to the American sportsbook heavyweight brands, expect to see some domestic brands fighting for market share in Ontario. Companies like sports media giant Score Media and Gaming, which launched theScore Bet in the US, hope to use its Canadian influence to attract new customers from launch day and beyond.

Just how big could sports betting in Ontario become?

Regarding the future of sports betting in Canada, Ontario is also the only province clearly aiming for an open market. When it comes into effect, Ontario will be just like the several US states where sports betting is now fully legal.

To gain insight into how big sports betting in Ontario could become, we can take a look at Pennsylvania – a US state with a similar population to Ontario and where sports betting is fully legal.

Ontario’s 15 million people compared to Pennsylvania’s 13 million makes this a pretty fair comparison. Since the removal of PASPA back in May 2018, Pennsylvania has been the third most lucrative state in terms of both betting handle and revenue – only behind New Jersey and Nevada. There is certainly a case for Ontario heading in the same direction in the next few years with a population just as invested in and passionate about sport.

Which operators do we expect to see in Ontario?

Here are just some of the sportsbooks we expect to see in Ontario when single-game betting is allowed:

  • BetMGM Sportsbook Ontario – BetMGM announced partnerships with The Hockey News and Canadian ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky
  • DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario – DraftKings recently expanded its DFS partnership with the NFL to include Canada
  • FanDuel Sportsbook Ontario – as a sportsbook heavyweight and direct competitor to DraftKings, FanDuel will undoubtedly enter the Ontario sports betting market
  • PointsBet Sportsbook Ontario – PointsBet is constantly expanding its Canada operation with an executive team that includes former Rogers Communications SVP Scott Vanderwel and former Monkey Knife Fight President Nic Sulsky
  • theScore Sportsbook Ontario – the Toronto-based company recently partnered with Canlan Sports, which owns hockey arenas across North America

If you are a sports fan in Ontario with an interest in sports betting, the coming months will definitely be exciting!

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