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 stories this week
- FanDuel, PokerStars Form Joint Partnership With Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
- NHL Betting Preview: High-Scoring Maple Leafs Host Goal-Happy Capitals On Thursday
- NBA Betting Preview: Raptors Have Formula To Score Upset Over Sixers In First Round
- Study Reveals Negative Impacts Of COVID-19 On Gambling Behavior Of Ontarians
Game of the week
Toronto Raptors @ Philadelphia 76ers, Game 1 — April 16
Canada’s basketball team begins its playoff journey Saturday night in Philadelphia after posting a surprising 48-34 record during the regular season to clinch the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto opens the playoffs with long +6500 odds (FanDuel) to win the NBA title, and it is also an underdog (+150) in its opening series with Philly.
However, the Raptors went a perfect 4-0 against the spread against the 76ers during the regular season, and they are 4.5-point underdogs in the series opener. Toronto posted an impressive 47-35 ATS record throughout the regular season, the third-best ATS mark in the NBA. The total for Game 1 is set at 217.5.
Raptors-Sixers Playoff Series Schedule:
Game 1, April 16: 6pm ET
Game 2, April 18: 7:30pm ET
Game 3, April 20: 8pm ET
Game 4, April 23: 2pm ET
*Game 5, April 25: TBD
*Game 6, April 28: TBD
*Game 7, April 30: TBD#Raptors #WeTheNorth
— Lukas Weese (@Weesesports) April 13, 2022
PointsBet and MLSE
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment announced PointsBet as another official sports betting partner of the company Monday.
It’s Official 🙌
We’re proud to announce that we are an official Sportsbook of MLSE.
⚽ Toronto FC
— PointsBet Canada (@PointsBetCanada) April 11, 2022
Last week, MLSE — which owns the Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto FC (MLS), and the Toronto Argonauts (CFL), among others — made FanDuel its initial official sports betting partner. This means PointsBet and FanDuel will both be strategic partners, as well as PokerStars, with direct access to some of Ontario’s most popular professional sports franchises.
PointsBet, which launched on April 4 in the province, previously established other major Canadian partnerships with the Trailer Park Boys, Ottawa Redblacks, Alpine Canada, Curling Canada, and the NHL Alumni Association.
PointsBet also secured a deal with U.S. Integrity to continue to provide integrity monitoring services to PointsBet Canada via its proprietary dashboard. USI conducts analysis across dozens of data sets to proactively identify irregular contest-level, officiating and wagering patterns.
Ontario betting stats
Monitoring the progress of the Ontario market is going to be tricky, but BetRivers, which launched April 4, on Tuesday revealed some of the early Ontario betting trends for the sportsbook.
A few Ontario stats from @BetRivers this afternoon: pic.twitter.com/GtoLYEYO0o
— gregwarrenBC (@GregwarrenBC) April 12, 2022
Surprisingly, there’s no mention of hockey data in the release. Obviously, The Masters was a popular event with bettors as it and Tiger Woods’ return to golf coincided with the market launch. And the popularity of the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays also doesn’t come as a surprise, given the recent success of Canada’s professional basketball team and the World Series aspirations of the Blue Jays this year.
It might be awhile before Ontario’s iGaming revenue numbers are disclosed, as iGaming Ontario, one of the government entities along with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario overseeing the launch of the regulated market, told Sports Handle this week its “approach to reporting of revenue will be communicated at a later time.”
So far, BetRivers is the only sportsbook to reveal any data regarding the gambling habits of Ontarians. But, it’s still just 10 days after launch and more data should be available in the coming weeks and months.
More operators entering Ontario
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 21 gaming sites live in the province. Some of the new additions this week include Entain brands on.bwin.ca, on.partypoker.ca, on.partycasino.ca, and on.partysports.ca.
NorthStar Gaming is also a new operator that’s licensed with the AGCO this week. Any new operators licensed with the AGCO also need to secure an operating agreement with iGO before launching their platforms. NorthStar Gaming’s launch appears to be imminent, but no official date has been set yet.
Other operators currently in the application process for an iGaming license in the province and that could launch in Ontario in the coming weeks and months include:
- Casino.com Sports
- Golden Nugget
An industry source indicated Thursday another “crop of operators” will be launching on Monday, April 25.
It appears as though some Ontario users are still having issues with geolocation, 10 days after launch.
Many bettors, particularly those wagering with Bet365, have expressed displeasure on social media about geolocation issues despite being located well within Ontario borders.
Paul Rymdzionek, who lives in Oshawa, Ontario, recently emailed Sports Handle about the constant geolocation error messages he’s receiving while using Bet365 in conjunction with the GeoComply app. He’s tried accessing the sportsbook through his personal computer and mobile apps, but still gets messages stating he’s not in Ontario. Oshawa is a city that lies roughly 40 miles to the east of Toronto and is home to nearly 400,000 residents. It’s not even close to a provincial or U.S. border, so it’s surprising there are geolocation issues in the area.
Paul said Bet365 has acknowledged the issue and he was assured they’re working on a resolution for him and others with the same problem.
AGCO regulations state bettors must be within Ontario’s provincial borders at the time of placing a wager with a sportsbook participating in the regulated market.