Each Thursday, Sports Handle will recap all the top sports betting news in Canada, highlight the Game of the Week, and take a look ahead at some of the most intriguing games to bet on over the weekend.
Our top Canadian sports story this week
How FanDuel Is Navigating Ontario’s Unique Wagering Landscape
As has happened in states across the U.S., Canadians have been inundated by wagering and casino ads since the April 4 launch of digital sports betting and iCasino in Ontario. According to one source, Hockey Night Canada has become Casino Night Canada.
Canada: Sports #betting front and centre during NHL playoffs – anyone who has watched a game can’t miss the increase in #gambling advertisements. Each individual operator is willing to pay approx. C$750 per person to acquire a new customer.https://t.co/np8zJ6iLEj via @globalnews
— Janne Nikkinen (@DocNikkinen) May 24, 2022
It would be fair to say that your average fan isn’t too happy about all the ads:
Can we go back to having sports betting being illegal in Canada so we can get truck, beer and Tim Horton’s ads like the good old days during NHL games?
— Curtis Hallborg (@CHallborg) May 23, 2022
We get it sports betting is legal now in Canada. That doesn't mean I need gambling segments every intermission…
— Kyle Noronha (@Kyle_Noronha) May 18, 2022
Game(s) of the week
In-game betting odds can fluctuate rapidly, in some cases as quickly as an Evander Kane slapshot that hits the back of the net.
When Kane gave the Edmonton Oilers a commanding 3-0 lead in Tuesday’s Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Calgary Flames, the in-game odds on the Oilers at some Ontario books moved to as low as -1600. Entering Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead, Edmonton had pre-game odds of -115 at Caesars Sportsbook to defeat its rival from Alberta at Rogers Place.
On Thursday night, the Oilers could clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup semifinals. The Flames enter the game as -155 favorites at DraftKings to defeat the Oilers (+135) in Game 5 of the series. Leading 3-1, the Oilers are heavy favorites to advance to the Western Conference Finals, with odds of -600.
Trailing by three goals at the start of the second period on Tuesday, the Flames quickly clawed their way back. Goals by Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund 36 seconds apart closed the gap to 3-2. The in-game odds at FanDuel Canada also shifted considerably, as Edmonton moved to -210 favorites. Needing a win to even the series, the Flames had odds of +265 at that point to pull off the improbable upset.
The Flames managed to the tie the game at 10:56 of the third when Rasmus Andersson beat Mike Smith on one of the most bizarre playoff goals in recent memory.
After Kane misplayed the puck in the Flames’ zone, Andersson dumped it nearly the full length of the ice to defeat a quizzical Smith. The shot, which traveled approximately 132 feet, has been billed as the “worst goal in playoff history” by many Oilers fans. Flames supporters, of course, view the tying goal in a different light.
If the Flames had gone on to win this game – this would probably be one of the best goals in NHL Playoff history!
(btw, it was shorthanded 🤭) #NHLPlayoffs #NHL https://t.co/1b7izDWqgt
— SportsBlog.com (@SportsBlog) May 25, 2022
Oilers goalie Mike Smith lets in worst goal in playoff history, immediately tries to blame someone else. https://t.co/jGqIZOEuJZ pic.twitter.com/5nEjeUNqQv
— The Loop (@GoToTheLoop) May 25, 2022
Smith shrugged off the miscue to record six saves during the remainder of the third period. The Oilers took the lead for good on a goal by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at 16:33 of the third period, his second goal of the night. There were odds of +1500 at FanDuel for Nugent-Hopkins to score at least two goals in Game 4. Edmonton capped the scoring with another goal by Kane with 25 seconds left.
Hockey not a good bet?
Ahead of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s first revenue report, multiple operators are seeing wagering on basketball emerge as a favorite. While Canada has a reputation for being hockey crazy, the NBA may better lend itself to in-game wagering.
Stakeholders predict that when the first revenue report comes out, basketball will be the leader, followed by hockey and baseball. But once football season starts, hockey could drop down to fourth in terms of betting popularity. In fact, the NHL could be fifth if wagers are broken down by league, behind the NFL, CFL, NBA, and MLB.
It would be interesting to see, if the AGCO shares detailed numbers, if there was a shift in NBA and NHL wagering after Philadelphia eliminated the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. At least one Canadian team (see above) will advance to the Stanley Cup’s Western Conference Finals.
Operators are also seeing significant wagering on soccer — which should ramp up once the World Cup starts in November — as well as golf and tennis.
Bet99 has new owner
Kings Entertainment has entered into a partnership with Bet99, one of Canada’s biggest online wagering and iCasino platforms, according to a press release. In practical terms, the agreement will allow the companies to expand the Bet99 brand. The deal is between Kings Entertainment and Bet99 parent company Sports Venture Holdings. The deal must still be approved by stockholders and the Canadian Securities Exchange.
“Merging with an internationally recognized online betting veteran such as Kings is a natural next step for SVH,” said Jared Beber, CEO of SVH. “Bringing the Bet99 brand to the public capital markets, through Kings’ CSE and OTC listings, will not only support expansion by engaging a much broader investor base, but will also build the Bet99 brand with an even wider audience of betting enthusiasts.”
OLG announces first affiliate partnership
Paysafe, a specialized payment platform, announced this week that it had expanded its partnership with Ontario Lottery and Gaming, including its PROLINE+ sports betting platform. The partnership, which features PaySafe’s Income Access software, marks the first affiliate deal for a Canadian lottery.
Per the announcement, the software will give the lottery the ability to develop “data-driven affiliate campaigns across multiple channels, including offline. The software’s campaign management functionality will allow campaigns to be targeted down to an Ontarian city level as well as by language (for French-speaking communities), time of day, and device.”