The wait is finally over.
Ontario‘s regulated iGaming market officially opened at 12:01 a.m. ET on April 4, and Sports Handle will be keeping tabs on all of the breaking developments as they happen throughout the day.
Up to 19 sports betting operators had been granted iGaming licenses with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as of Sunday and were able to launch at their discretion Monday providing they also have an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario.
Stay with us throughout the day, as we’ll update our live blog with all of the latest developments.
A complete guide to the launch is available on our partner site, US Bets.
April 4, 4:15 p.m. ET
The news cycle appears to be slowing down for the day, so here’s a recap of the gaming sites that are now fully registered and approved in Ontario as of 4:15 p.m. ET:
Thanks for checking out our live Ontario launch blog!
April 4, 3:00 p.m. ET
PointsBet Canada is not currently offering its “PointsBetting” game in the province.
A PointsBet spokesperson told Sports Handle the AGCO had a particular issue with the unique offering, which allows bettors to accrue increased payouts and losses on their wagers using a sliding scale, unlike traditional fixed-odds betting.
Sports Handle has reached out to the regulator for clarification on why “PointsBetting” isn’t permitted in the province and is awaiting a response.
Our very own Eric Raskin recently wrote a primer on his “PointsBetting” experience for Penn Bets.
Since @PointsBetUSA arrived in Pennsylvania two weeks ago, I've placed two PointsBetting-style bets and won them both. One, I won 15 units. The other, I won half a unit. So, I'm basically, like, an expert. Therefore, I wrote this primer on PointsBetting:https://t.co/KD6bhb7hnK
— Eric Raskin + (@EricRaskin) February 25, 2022
April 4, 2:00 p.m. ET
Toronto-based Bragg Gaming Group makes an announcement:
Bragg Gaming Group is pleased to announce that we have secured content distribution agreements with multiple iGaming operators in Ontario which today launched its regulated igaming market.https://t.co/AMe5yyVpkf$BRAG pic.twitter.com/sUrWXBCCaR
— Bragg Gaming (@Bragg_Gaming) April 4, 2022
“Ontario is our home market, and we are delighted to be in position to serve operators with our iGaming content and solutions as the market opens to customers across the province. We believe the Ontario online gaming market offers a significant opportunity for our industry-leading content and platform technology and we are excited by the interest shown in our offerings from local, U.S., and international operators. Our team has done a fantastic job securing attractive commercial agreements with operator customers, including with top-tier brands, and we are eagerly anticipating supporting their launch efforts in the coming days, weeks, and months,” said Chief Commercial Officer Chris Looney.
Bragg Gaming received its gaming-related supplier license in early March from the AGCO and is primarily a B2B online gaming technology platform and casino content aggregator through its subsidiary, Oryx Gaming International LLC.
Kambi, another provider of premium sports betting services to licensed B2C gaming operators, also made a statement this afternoon.
“Kambi is proud to be up and running, along with our partners, on day one of the regulated market opening in Ontario. Our market-leading hockey offering and Game Parlay product are now available in Ontario.” pic.twitter.com/zJ8NQx6V50
— Kambi (@KambiSports) April 4, 2022
April 4, 1:30 p.m. ET
LeoVegas and Royal Panda are live in Ontario, according to Country Manager of Canada Mark Cheeswright.
“A tremendous effort from the entire LVG team. It’s an absolute honor to work with this fantastic group of individuals, from the top to the bottom, I could not be more proud!,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post.
The websites are offering online casino, live-dealer casino, and sports betting.
April 4, 12:15 p.m. ET
Coolbet Canada was one of the first operators to launch just after midnight (see below) in Ontario. A unique aspect of its sportsbook is that anyone can see the incoming wagers being placed.
There's a chance you may be new to Coolbet & you might not know that we are the most transparent sports gaming site in the world. You can see each & every incoming bet made at our sportsbook. See a bet you like? Copy the ticket & place your own stake! https://t.co/ViCtPEet7V pic.twitter.com/cQbmsoaIQL
— Coolbet Canada 🇨🇦 (@CoolbetCanada) April 4, 2022
Coolbet was already operating in the province since 2019 using its Malta Gaming Authority license, but is now a regulated operator in Ontario.
As of April 3 at 11:59 p.m. ET, all pending bets on Coolbet.com for Ontario users were either resulted or voided to comply with the new licensing regulations.
April 4, 11:30 a.m. ET
Some big news as FanDuel, which launched in Ontario early this morning, just announced a partnership with TSN, one of Canada’s largest specialty sports media companies.
— TSN PR (@TSN_PR) April 4, 2022
FanDuel will be the official sportsbook partner for TSN in Ontario. The deal provides opportunity for scaled expansion into other Canadian provinces and territories, pending future regulation.
This also means FanDuel will be the exclusive sportsbook and online casino operator across all TSN programming, which includes five national television feeds, TSN.ca, a host of radio stations, and the TSN app.
TSN broadcasts many major sports leagues and events across its various platforms including the CFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, UEFA EURO and FIFA World Cup, NASCAR, UFC, and the NCAA Tournament, among others.
April 4, 10:35 a.m. ET
BetMGM has confirmed it is now live in the province.
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) April 4, 2022
“Today marks a significant milestone for BetMGM and a momentous occasion for sports fans and online players in Ontario,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt in a press release. “We’re confident that customers in Canada will enjoy the unique, interactive and world-class experience that only BetMGM can provide.”
BetMGM recently adopted British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s industry-leading GameSense responsible gambling program. Launched in 2009 by BCLC, GameSense is designed to help players make informed gambling decisions and improve player trust, awareness, and education using research-based guidelines and best practices. The program is licensed in 14 gambling organizations across North America and has earned international recognition from the World Lottery Association, the National Council on Problem Gambling, and the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.
April 4, 10:00 a.m. ET
Toronto-based Rivalry is live and offering eSports, casino, and sports betting.
“We do things differently at Rivalry. We are aiming to be the sportsbook for the next generation through engaging content and innovative experiences that entertain and create loyal fans of Rivalry who come back for more,” said Steven Salz, co-founder and CEO of Rivalry, in a press release. “To launch in our home market feels like a dream come true, and a very significant milestone in our creation of a leading global brand.”
— Steven Salz (@StevenSalz) April 4, 2022
And 888 holdings also put out an email release this morning:
“We are excited to launch in Ontario under a local license, enabling us to leverage our full suite of data-driven marketing capabilities to build awareness of our differentiated and content rich products in the province. Ontario is a large province with a population of more than 14 million people, many of whom are passionate sports and betting fans, and we see very exciting long-term growth opportunities in the market,” said CEO Itai Pazner.
“Launching in attractive regulated markets like Ontario is a key element of the Market Focus pillar of our long-term corporate growth strategy to strength our position as a global online betting and gaming leader.”
The operator has three websites — 888casino.ca, 888poker.ca, and 888sport.ca — registered with iGaming Ontario.
April 4, 9:30 a.m. ET
The audio issues were finally rectified for the final few minutes of the discussion at the Toronto Stock Exchange. A recording for the event (with clean audio) will be available shortly, organizers said.
John Levy shared theScore’s philosophy on the market moving forward:
“Stay true. Stay in touch. Take the blinders off. Listen to the consumer, and evolve. The product today is going to look a lot different than the product that we’re going to show in six months or a year from now. It’s going to change because the consumer is going to tell us what they want. The companies that are going to be successful are the ones that are going to respond to that.”
Levy and Penn National President and CEO Jay Snowden also released a statement Monday morning.
The wait is over… @theScoreBet is LIVE in Ontario on iOS and Android 🇨🇦
Get into BET MODE, and read our full press release, with quotes from Penn National President & CEO Jay Snowden and @scorecommish
— Score Media and Gaming Inc. (@theScore_PR) April 4, 2022
April 4, 9:15 a.m. ET
Unfortunately, the live feed for the Ontario launch event at the Toronto Stock Exchange is experiencing major audio issues. Many YouTube users are complaining about the choppy feed in the chat and are leaving the stream due to the technical difficulties.
Jordan Gnat (Playmaker), Paul Burns (CGA), and John Levy (thesScore Bet) are on the podium and have the audience laughing quite a bit. The mood is light and celebratory. Wish I could hear what they’re actually saying.
Also, iGaming Ontario put out the following statement via email shortly after 9 a.m. ET:
“This is a monumental day that establishes Ontario as an international leader in online gaming,” said Martha Otton, iGaming Ontario’s executive director. “After years of anticipation culminating in historic legislation followed by months of hard work by all stakeholders, we have reached today’s launch of a legal internet gaming market out from under its previous grey market standing.”
April 4, 8:15 a.m. ET
A complete list of regulated operators is now live on the iGaming Ontario website. The following gaming sites are now fully registered and approved in Ontario as of 8:15 a.m. ET.
April 4, 8:00 a.m. ET
The Canadian Gaming Association, a national trade association that represents leading operators and suppliers in Canada’s gaming, sports betting, eSports, and lottery industries, is hosting a live YouTube feed for this morning’s launch event beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET at the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Some of the speakers include:
- Paul Burns, president & CEO, CGA
- Dave Forestell, chair, iGaming Ontario
- Jordan Gnat, CEO, Playmaker Capital
- John Levy, CEO, theScore Inc.
- Steven Salz, CEO, Rivalry
The event should conclude around 9:30 a.m. ET.
April 4, 1:30 a.m. ET
Final recap before getting some sleep:
- PointsBet Canada, theScore Bet, FanDuel, and Coolbet Canada have all confirmed launch in the province via Twitter.
- BetMGM, BetRivers (Rush Street Interactive), and Betway also appear to be live, but no official word yet from the sportsbooks.
The Canadian Gaming Association and other key iGaming stakeholders are scheduled to open the Toronto Stock Exchange beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET. We’ll pick back up there and also report on any other overnight developments.
April 4, 1:15 a.m. ET
The launch wasn’t without glitches. Several would-be FanDuel bettors struggled to create an account, and according to @DaveTheChairman, there were also issues on the BetMGM and Caesars platforms:
This sports betting launch in Ontario is a disaster. Can't sign up for FanDuel, can't verify identity on MGM, awkward signup process on Caesars and 365 was supposed to have their site ready at midnight and 90 minutes later it still isn't up. Complete mess
— Chairman Dave (@DaveTheChairman) April 4, 2022
This error won’t let me create the account😪 pic.twitter.com/Yym1efhcbY
— Meet Pandya (@MeetPandya127) April 4, 2022
April 4, 1 a.m. ET
It doesn’t appear that BetMGM has tweeted that it’s live in Canada yet, but the site is up and running:
As you can see from the above image, Wayne Gretzky is a BetMGM brand ambassador. The sportsbook also added Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid to its roster recently.
At this point, it appears there are seven operators up and running in the province: theScore, FanDuel, PointsBet, CoolBet, BetMGM, Rush Street Interactive, and Betway.
April 4, 12:40 a.m. ET
A general wave of excitement hits Twitter with the opening of the market. Professor Mike Naraine, who hosted a great virtual sports betting chat at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, a few months back:
Single game sports betting through iGaming is now live in Ontario!
Let the Games begin!
— Mike Naraine, PhD (@MikeNaraine) April 4, 2022
April 4, 12:20 a.m. ET
Coolbet Canada beats everyone to the punch, at least on my Twitter feed, and announces the first bet in the new Ontario market:
The first bet that we took on our @iGamingOntario license was, unsurprisingly, for Monday night's National Championship
Kansas -4 for $100.
— Coolbet Canada 🇨🇦 (@CoolbetCanada) April 4, 2022
PointsBet follows up quickly by announcing its first bet:
LOCK IT IN 🔒
Our first big wager in the province of Ontario has been set 🙌
North Carolina Tar Heels Moneyline (+165)
Toronto Maple Leafs Moneyline (+110) pic.twitter.com/xWkKY3omNp
— PointsBet Canada (@PointsBetCanada) April 4, 2022
April 4, 12:05 a.m. ET
Just after midnight, theScore Bet, FanDuel, and PointsBet all announce they’ve officially gone live. Still waiting to see what the first bet placed is at each of these sportsbooks.
The wait is over!
Ontario, meet @theScoreBet. 🇨🇦
— theScore Bet (@theScoreBet) April 4, 2022
— FanDuel Canada (@FanDuelCanada) April 4, 2022
April 3, 11:15 p.m. ET
Unfortunately, the launch of the regulated market is being overshadowed by some controversy.
Offshore sportsbooks that have been operating in Canada for years, such as Bet365, have been forced by regulators to settle all of their futures bets with existing users prior to transitioning to regulated sports betting on April 4.
The timing of the launch means that futures bets made on Monday’s NCAA national championship game between Kansas and the University of North Carolina would have to be voided before launch.
Twitter user @gocashking is one of many upset sports bettors to take to social media over the last week, although he says he was at least able to cash out for half the amount of his futures bet on Kansas. According to the ticket, the bettor would have won $3,200 on his $200 bet should Kansas win.
This is the biggest ball breaker of all time for me. Just a victim of extreme circumstance and bad timing. I cashed out for just over 1/2 the amount, but still… pic.twitter.com/b7SDIxsZF9
— Garnet Barnsdale (@gocashking) April 3, 2022
The NCAA Tournament isn’t the only event affected by the changes. Any season win totals, player awards, or outright odds in other sports also needed to be settled. Each previously gray sportsbook had the ability to determine how to settle these wagers with customers on an individual basis.
April 3, 11:00 p.m. ET
PointsBet Canada was one of the first operators to receive an approved iGaming license in Ontario, and it appears the sportsbook is ready to launch as soon as possible in the province.
To say Chief Commercial Officer Nic Sulsky has been excited about this whole process over the past few months would be a huge understatement. He and his team have been busy setting up an office in Toronto, mass hiring Ontario workers, and inking numerous strategic partnerships ahead of the launch.
PointsBet recently rolled out a new in-game betting product in time for March Madness. However, some PointsBet users have been angry with odds changing while trying to place wagers at the online sportsbook.
🔥ONTARIO SPORTS FANS: https://t.co/gS15ie1AHQ is LIVE!! (Betting begins 12:01am!)
Alot of people at @PointsBetCanada & @PointsBetUSA have been busting their asses to get here. I am bursting with pride and admiration of this incredible team.
Let's go! #ThisIsHowWePlaySports pic.twitter.com/2GabBGGD7U
— Nic Sulsky (@nicsulsky) April 3, 2022