Canada has enjoyed single-game sports betting for almost a year now but Ontario is finally opening its doors on April 4. There are already 14 operators lined up with a license to attract new customers in the region – and that number will only grow in the coming months.
The interest from betting firms in the Ontario market is huge – and so are the figures attached to this new venture. In a way of comparison, when New York made single-game sports betting legal in January, there were only four operators involved. That gives you something of an idea about how big this news is.
With Ontario being home to 15 million people, it is estimated that the province will generate $800 million this year. The potential for the next five years could reach up to almost $30 billion.
Alongside the well known brands, such as Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM, there are some more local sportsbooks looking to be involved. ScoreBet and NorthStar Gaming will only signal the start of new Canadian inroads into sports betting.
But the American and Canadian operators are bound to be joined by firms that have been successful in the British and European markets in recent years. Bet365 and Unibet are just two of the big names in the world of sports betting that are keen to gain a foothold in Canada. Ontario, with its population size and appetite for sports, is believed to be high on the priority list for some of these established industry names.
One downside for the April 4 start date in Ontario is that a number of big sporting – and betting – events have already been missed. The original plan was to begin in December of last year, but this later start means these new operators were not able to capitalize on the betting interest surrounding the Super Bowl and March Madness, which finishes this week.
But part of the delay has been the regulators in Ontario have been concentrating on getting everything completely right before launching. With the potential for criticism of allowing sports betting at all being very high, they have made sure that Ontario will enjoy a safe and ethical environment for the business to flourish in a positive way.
The announcement in March that the Canada Gaming Association had signed an agreement with the International Betting Integrity Association for Ontario has been seen as a positive step in making the province a safe place to bet for customers and operators alike. The threat of corrupt activities and a lack of integrity are greatly reduced by these organizations doing so much preliminary work before signing everything off.
Now Ontario will finally be able and willing to launch single-game sports betting – and the province just can’t wait to get involved.