Each Thursday, Sports Handle recaps all the top sports betting news in Canada, highlights the Game of the Week, and takes a look ahead at some of the most intriguing games to bet on over the weekend.
Our top Canadian sports stories this week
- BetMGM Becomes Official Sportsbook Partner Of The NFL In Canada
- A Canadian Story: How Props.Cash Is Helping People Make Smarter Prop Wagers
- Land-Based Sportsbooks Could Launch In Ontario By September
- CFL Week 10 Wagering Preview: Can Blue Bombers Have A Perfect Season?
- Canadian Provincial Gaming Corporations Form Coalition Against Illegal Online Gambling
Event of the week
WTA National Bank Open
Canada said goodbye to a women’s tennis legend on Wednesday night, as Serena Williams played her final match on Canadian soil after falling to Belinda Bencic in straight sets in the second round at the WTA National Bank Open in Toronto, Ontario.
On Tuesday, Williams announced her retirement from tennis following the US Open later this month. After the announcement, Wednesday night’s session featuring her match quickly sold out, and some tickets were going for upward of $1,000 on StubHub.
The 40-year-old has won more Grand Slam singles titles (23) than any other woman or man during the open era. (Margaret Court won 24 Grand Slams, but more than half of them preceded the open era.)
Love from the 6ix❤️
Toronto gives Serena Williams a proper send off following her loss to Belinda Bencic!
🎥: @Sportsnet | #NBO22
— FanDuel Canada (@FanDuelCanada) August 11, 2022
Bianca Andreescu is the lone Canadian left in the field after she advanced to the Round of 16 with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over France’s Alizé Cornet on Wednesday. The 2019 US Open winner has +1100 odds at Coolbet Canada to win the National Bank Open and is a-154 favorite in her next match against Qinwen Zheng.
OLG launches PROLINE + app
On Monday, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation launched the first, and only, sports betting app in Ontario to offer both online and in-store wagering options.
The new PROLINE + app allows bettors to place wagers online, but also has the option to build bet slips and generate a barcode on the app, which can be used to purchase betting tickets at the roughly 10,000 retail locations across the province. It can be downloaded on both iOS and Android devices.
PROLINE + launched last August, but sports bettors needed to visit OLG’s PROLINE website in order to place online wagers prior to Monday’s launch of the new app.
“The new app gives players the unprecedented ability to make a sports bet directly on the app or at retail using the bet builder functionality. This latest product enhancement reinforces our commitment to convenience and choice for our players while also offering a competitive sportsbook with the confidence, trust, and goodwill of the OLG brand,” said Dave Pridmore, OLG’s chief digital & strategy officer, in an email release.
OLG had a monopoly on the legal sports betting market in Ontario until the launch of the province’s regulated iGaming and online sports betting market on April 4.
OLG has been busy establishing partnerships with the big four sports leagues — NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL — in an attempt to stay competitive in the increasingly crowded sports betting market in the province.
Experience more ways to bet with the latest PROLINE+ App. Now offering real-time betting with PROLINE+.
Download the PROLINE App today: https://t.co/8SazxV04oD #OLGProline pic.twitter.com/LTJaNSPbjA
— PROLINE (@OLGproline) August 10, 2022
Ontario revenue report update
We’re still waiting for the first Ontario iGaming and online sports betting revenue numbers from regulators.
Regulators told Sports Handle in early June that the numbers would be released “very soon,” once the provincial government had a chance to review and sign off on them. Executives from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario also reiterated at June’s Canadian Gaming Summit in Toronto that numbers would be released “shortly.”
Ontario’s provincial election was held on June 2, and the government led by the Progressive Conservative Party’s Doug Ford was re-elected. Many elected government officials take significant vacation time during the summer months, which could be slowing government administration processes.
“It’s not anything purposeful. They [regulators] need sign-off. And I don’t think they’ve got that yet. When they do, they’ll release them. They want to release them. I know operators want to see them,” Canadian Gaming Association President Paul Burns told Sports Handle this week.
The province’s 2022 spring budget estimated that iGaming Ontario will generate net income of $18 million in 2022-23, $26 million in 2023-24, and $31 million in 2024-25.
Coolbet Canada secures new curling partnership
It’s summer in Canada, but it won’t be long until the leaves are falling and bettors shift gears to winter sports.
Last Friday, Coolbet Canada announced a curling sponsorship deal with Team Mike McEwen during a podcast.
After spending his entire curling career in the province of Manitoba, McEwen will play out of Ontario starting next season. He also announced his new team on Friday:
The wait is finally over! We’re so excited to announce Team McEwen.
Second: Jonathan Beuk
A huge thank you to our title partner @coolbetcanada for the help to announce our new squad! We’re pumped to have you on the team 🙌🏻 https://t.co/KQFMIwCoVz
— Team Mike McEwen (@TeamMcEwen) August 5, 2022
McEwen won the 2013 Brier and boasts a gold medal on his resume from the 2014 Winter Olympics as a member of Brad Jacobs’ rink.
Just days after the April 4 launch of Ontario’s regulated market, Coolbet Canada also inked Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse as its “ambassador of cool.”
We are excited to announce the newest member of the @CoolbetCanada team is none other than six-time Olympic medalist and Canada's fastest man, Andre De Grasse!@De6rasse has been named Coolbet's “Ambassador of Cool”.
Full announcement:https://t.co/LC5DwBmv8V pic.twitter.com/nBA0iG1nDq
— Coolbet Canada 🇨🇦 (@CoolbetCanada) April 7, 2022
Ontario casino strike over
It’s back to business as usual at two Durham Region casinos in Ontario.
Last Friday, unionized members of Unifor Local 1090 ratified a new four-year labor agreement with Great Canadian Entertainment, ending a two-week casino worker strike at Casino Ajax and Pickering Casino Resort.
As part of the agreement, casino workers will earn a significant wage increase (between 17%-25% on average over four years), improved benefits and vacation entitlement, increased full-time jobs, and a new paid time off program.
Great Canadian Entertainment, which owns several Ontario casinos, averted a workers strike at six other Ontario locations at the end of last month, but couldn’t strike a deal with Unifor Local 1090.
Workers at Casino Ajax and Pickering Casino Resort were being paid less by Great Canadian Entertainment than other casino workers at nearby locations, prompting strike action.
ICYMI: Unifor Local 1090 members on strike at Pickering Casino Resort and Casino Ajax ratified their new collective agreement on Friday. Members celebrated at a gathering afterwards: pic.twitter.com/LmZAIVsAtY
— Unifor (@UniforTheUnion) August 6, 2022
BetRivers lands a new Canadian ambassador
BetRivers Canada is dipping into the former TSN talent pool once again.
Just months after appointing former TSN broadcaster Dan O’Toole as a brand ambassador, BetRivers struck a deal this week with another former TSN anchor, Natasha Staniszewski.
Looking forward to working with @BetRiversCAN and getting my bake back on! 👩🏼🍳🧁 https://t.co/tlGHnuIzqw
— Natasha Staniszewski (@tvnatasha) August 9, 2022
Last February, both O’Toole and Staniszewski were laid off by Bell Media, which owns Canada’s broadcasting equivalent of ESPN.
Staniszewski then moved on to become the new voice of the NHL’s Calgary Flames and CFL’s Calgary Stampeders with the Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation in the province of Alberta.
According to Staniszewski’s LinkedIn page, she’s also a brand ambassador for Comeon!, which is another licensed iCasino site in the province of Ontario.
BetRivers was one of the first operators to launch in Ontario’s new regulated market on April 4.
Bet99 teams up with Ric Flair
Bet99 announced Wednesday that it’s the official sportsbook partner of WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Ric Flair.
“I Am Officially Stylin’ & Profilin’ With Bet99! WOOOOO!, Flair, 73, posted on his Facebook page.
The Best Thing Going Today! WOOOOO! @StarrcastEvents #RicFlairsLastMatch pic.twitter.com/QTs8Pvk8Yi
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) August 2, 2022
Bet99 is licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission out of the province of Quebec and operates only in Canada. Sports Handle has learned that Bet99 has applied for an Ontario iGaming license with regulators and could launch its paid product in the province shortly.
Several high-profile current and former athletes are already signed to endorsement deals by Bet99 to promote its free-to-play products, including Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews and former UFC legend Georges St-Pierre.
Objections to Alberta casino relocation
Capital City Casinos Ltd. has submitted an application to the Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis Commission to relocate its current casino in Camrose to roughly 50 miles to the northwest in Edmonton by the fall of 2024.
The potential move to the approximately 60,000-square-foot venue would roughly double the amount of slot machines and table games that could be available for patrons. There are also plans for a sports wagering restaurant and bar, a show lounge, and a 120-room hotel.
AGLC’s market experts predict the relocation will have a positive impact on rural charities being serviced by the new facility.
The deadline for objections was Aug. 10. The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues submitted an open letter to the regulator opposing the potential relocation as it fears a new casino “will draw attention, traffic, and charitable revenue away from casinos currently serving Edmonton organizations.”
According to the EFCL, 80 community leagues used $2.9 million of casino funds in the last year to support their operations and projects.
Alberta is the only province in Canada where charitable organizations are licensed to conduct and manage casino events. AGLC also licenses charitable organizations to fundraise through bingo, as well as selling raffle and pull tickets.
Risky business: Plan to move Camrose casino to Edmonton meets opposition https://t.co/JQ03SLpjxc
— Edmonton Journal (@edmontonjournal) August 10, 2022