Ontario got its first full-service sportsbook with the grand opening of Caesars Sportsbook in Windsor on Wednesday.
Hall of Fame ex-NHL goaltender Grant Fuhr helped cut the ribbon and made the ceremonial first bet, taking the moneyline that the Jacksonville Jaguars would upset the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday.
“Today’s grand opening is a testament to our community partners, team members, and our guests who have all patiently waited for this day,” Caesars Windsor President Kevin Laforet said in a statement. “We embrace the opportunity to provide a world-class Caesars experience that both sports fans and guests will enjoy.”
The Canadian federal government legalized single-game wagering in June 2021 after years in which sports bettors only had access to parlays via the provincial federal lotteries. Ontario was the first province to legalize and regulate single-game betting, with mobile betting apps debuting in April.
Space for plenty of TVs
Caesars Windsor’s new sportsbook covers 1,618 square feet and features three betting windows, seven betting kiosks, and 22 large-screen HD LED TVs. The book is open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight, with the kiosks available 24/7. The sportsbook was designed by Tandem Engineering Group in partnership with Artisan Construction.
Caesars said it “conveys the Caesars Sportsbook brand in a modern way through a lively and contemporary space fit for a Caesar.”
Caesars Windsor debuted sports betting kiosks on the casino floor in November after it came to an agreement with regulators on compliance issues. Area politicians had advocated for in-person sports betting at casinos for years, but those discussions slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The last several years have been particularly challenging as we’ve all dealt with the effects of COVID,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said in an interview Wednesday. “I can’t think of a better way for Caesars Windsor to bounce back than opening up this sportsbook today after years and years of talking about it. This will allow Caesars Windsor to be competitive with our neighbors in Michigan and Ohio, and the other [retail sports betting] operations there. People that come to this facility will have options.”
Competition for bettors in region
Caesars Windsor is the largest casino resort in Canada and the first of its kind outside the U.S. to be branded with the Caesars name. It has received the CAA/AAA Four Diamond hotel designation 20 consecutive years.
Potential competition for sportsbook patrons exists from Detroit books just across the international border, including the Barstool Sportsbook in Hollywood Casino at Greektown, the BetMGM Sports Lounge at MGM Grand Detroit, and FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino Hotel.
The minimum bet in the sportsbook for non-Caesars Reward members is $5 and the maximum is $500. For rewards members, the maximum bet is $1,000. Bettors can earn Caesars Rewards and tier credits with sports betting.
Taking part in the opening festivities, Fuhr was asked whom he would recommend betting on to win the NHL’s Stanley Cup this season. “I’d probably take the Colorado Avalanche,” he answered.
The Avalanche are +650 to repeat and win it all at Caesars.
— Greg Warren contributed to this article