Sports betting has begun to expand rapidly in the province of Ontario, first through the creation of a regulated online market, to now with the addition of retail sportsbooks.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation recently announced that casinos in the province will start to roll out retail sportsbooks over the next few weeks. The announcement comes several months after the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) gave the green light for the Ontario iGaming market, offering the chance to private online bookmakers to enter the regulated betting market.
The first casinos to start providing retail sports betting will be from the Great Canadian Entertainment, which owns a number casinos across the province. The brand decided to name its retail sports betting centres, ‘Great Canadian Sportsbooks’ which are already up and running at several of its casinos in Ontario.
Some of the Great Canadian Entertainment casinos which are currently offering in-person retail sports betting include the Pickering Casino Resort, Great Blue Heron Casino & Hotel, Elements Casino Brantford and Shorelines Casino Belleville. The company also launched sports betting kiosks at a number of its venues like the Shorelines Casino Peterborough, Casino Woodbine in Etobicoke, Elements Casino Grand River in Elora, Elements Casino Mohawk in Milton and Elements Casino Flamboro.
By all estimates, we expect a number of other top casino brands to follow suit in the coming months. Popular sports betting tech supplier, Kambi, has already etched deals to power retail sportsbooks at two of the larger casino venues in the Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara. The OLG has not released a comprehensive list of retail sportsbooks in Ontario, nor has it provided a timeline for the roll out of sports betting at casinos in the province.
How successful will retail sports betting be in Ontario?
Online sports betting is expected to stay king in Ontario, as the ease and convenience of betting from anywhere within the province is overwhelming. This doesn’t however preclude that retail sportsbooks at brick and mortar casinos won’t have success as well. Retail sportsbooks offer a different sports betting experience, one that gives bettors the chance to enjoy the amenities of the sports lounges and follow sporting events on giant screens as they bet.
The other major advantage that retail sportsbooks possess is walkthrough of players at major casinos. While not all players going to the casino will have sports betting as their priority, retail sportsbooks offer the opportunity to place sports bets amongst other forms of gambling.