How Big Sportsbook Brands Will Change Canada Sports Betting
Canada sports betting was transformed in 2021 with the introduction and launch of single-event wagering. No longer were Canadians relegated to only parlays.
But for as great as single-event sports betting now being live in Canada is, the country’s sports wagering market still lacks the well-known sportsbook brands such as DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM.
As it stands, Canadian bettors can only make single-game bets through government-owned lottery corporations.
The next key step for Canada’s sports betting market will be the debut of private vendors such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
Canada Sports Betting Currently
On Aug. 27, 2021, Canada went live with its single-event sports betting market, permitting provinces and territories to manage single-game betting within their borders.
In the five days following the release of single-event betting, the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corp. (OLG) took in over $1 million in wagers on its ProLine+ platform. Of those bets placed, nearly 74% were single-contest wagers, according to the OLG. The British Colombia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) also started taking single-game bets immediately on its PlayNow.com website.
“This is a landmark moment for BCLC and our players,” BCLC interim president and CEO Lynda Cavanaugh said. “We’re excited to enhance our offerings on PlayNow.com, the only gambling website operating in B.C. where revenue goes back to British Columbians by supporting provincial initiatives like healthcare, education and community programs.”
The Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) also went live with its single-game sports betting options on Dec. 16. Powered by the Scientific Games Lottery Team, bettors can place live bets and futures with the WCLC through its Sport Select platform.
Together, the OLG, BCLC and WCLC are the main operators in Canada.
Preparing to Move into Canada
Provinces are still working towards opening their sports betting markets to private vendors. Meanwhile, sportsbooks are preparing to move in. Both DraftKings and FanDuel announced in November expanded partnerships with the NBA, which allowed them to become official sports betting partners with the league in Canada.
“DraftKings and FanDuel are market leaders who have been incredible partners in engaging with the millions of NBA fans who enjoy fantasy and betting,” said Scott Kaufman-Ross, Senior Vice President, Head of Gaming & New Business Ventures, NBA, in a media release. “DraftKings and FanDuel sit at the center of the continued convergence between media and sports betting, and, together, we are excited to bring these unique content experiences to our fans.”
In October, FanDuel also announced former Roger Communications executive Dale Hooper is now the general manager of FanDuel’s operations in Canada. Hooper is tasked with developing and implementing FanDuel’s long-term strategy in Canada and keeping up with the country’s regulatory and legalization process.
"Dale has a proven track record running high growth enterprises along with strong relationships that will be invaluable to our success in Canada," FanDuel Group CEO Amy Howe said in a media release. "He is a respected leader known for his ability to scale business units effectively, a critical skill set, as we aim to bring the excitement of our sportsbook and iGaming products to Canadian citizens. It's with great excitement that I welcome him to our team."
Other sportsbooks with ties to Canada include PointsBet, theScore Bet, BetMGM, Hard Rock and Caesars.
PointsBet appointed Scott Vanderwel, another former Rogers executive, as the CEO of PointsBet Canada. PointsBet also has a deal with Curling Canada.
Penn National Gaming announced theScore Bet had secured a Gaming Laboratories International GLI-33 certification for its sports betting and iGaming app. Getting a GLI-33 meets one of the requirements necessary to become an official online sports betting and iGaming operator in Ontario.
BetMGM has plans to build a large casino in Calgary, Alberta.
Hard Rock is a Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) member and owns casinos in Vancouver and Ottawa.
Caesars is also a member of the CGA and owns a casino in Windsor, Ontario.
These are just some of the more well-known sportsbooks with ties to Canada who you can expect to go live in the country.
Potential with New Operators
Betting options in Canada become limitless when the private vendors go live with their sportsbooks. Residents would shop lines across numerous books, place their same-game parlays and explore the player prop market.
Any combination of the words “FanDuel” or “DraftKings” paired with “Canada” in Twitter’s search function brings up numerous Canadians stating their wishes the popular sportsbooks would become available in their country. As it stands, they can only look enviously at the North American states that feature these types of betting options.
Those looking for higher limits in Canada can also be restricted. Currently, the WCLC has a $100 betting limit on its sportsbook. FanDuel, DraftKings and others allow players to wager more than that if they wish to do so. Having that freedom is another luxury Canadians don’t have with a limited sports betting market.
Expanded sports betting options have the potential to make Canada one of the largest markets in North America. Analysts at the Gambling Compliance Company, VIXIO, project an online Ontario sports betting market that could generate gross revenues of $989 million in its first year of opening before growing to $1.86 billion by 2026. This would make Ontario one of the largest online gambling markets in North America, along with New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Provinces are preparing to introduce private vendors in 2022. Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) has begun accepting bids from vendors looking to enter the province’s sports betting market. AGLC is hoping to establish retail and online sports wagering options for 2022.
The proposal process for vendors will end Jan. 31, 2022. Successful applications will be announced once they are awarded.
“Opening the bid process for retail sports betting in Alberta is another exciting step for sports fans in the province,” said Kandice Machado, President and CEO of the AGLC. “AGLC is proud to facilitate this next step that will involve the existing casino and racing entertainment centre industry while working with Alberta’s major professional sports teams. Continuing this work is an important step in offering consumers convenience and choice in their gambling entertainment options.”
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