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
- CFL Week 4 Wagering Preview: Lions Quarterback Nathan Rourke On Fire
- Canadian Panel Discusses Future Of Online Sports Betting Industry
- CFL Updating Its Ancient Match-Fixing Policy To Reflect Recent Regulation Changes
Event of the week
The Championships, Wimbledon
With the professional hockey and basketball seasons now over, bettors are shifting their focus to other summer sports, like tennis.
The stage doesn’t get any bigger than Wimbledon, and two Canadians — Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu — are seeking tennis glory in the men’s and women’s competition.
Shapovalov (-162 at FanDuel) is favored in his second-round match against Brandon Nakashima on Thursday. The 16th-ranked men’s player in the world has long +7000 odds to win the competition.
Andreescu (-137 at FanDuel) is also favored in her second-round match with Elena Rybakina. She has +3200 odds to win the women’s competition and wasn’t too happy with Canadian broadcasters after her first-round victory at the tournament was partially missed by viewers.
— Bianca (@Bandreescu_) June 28, 2022
PokerStars has arrived
PokerStars went live in Ontario on Tuesday morning after getting fully licensed with provincial regulators. Part of Flutter Entertainment, PokerStars launched its sportsbook and popular poker product across the province, but some users have been unhappy about the reduced player pools as the result of liquidity issues that came with regulation.
@PokerStarsON switched over and their is literally no one seated in any games. This is awful for pokerstars and if this doesn't improve, i'm closing my account of almost 20 years #pokerstars #ontario #wtf
— Eric (@EricWebbwood) June 28, 2022
Every poker site is now dead in Ontario. Player and prize pools have been cut by 99%. It’s not worth your time or money to play online poker in Ontario anymore…
— Gomd (@Gomd05876604) June 29, 2022
Earlier this year, daily fantasy sports players in Ontario were infuriated when DraftKings and FanDuel stopped offering their DFS games in the province as a result of both operators becoming regulated.
However, in a press release, PokerStars is promising special events and contests strictly for Ontario players throughout the summer.
“In many respects Ontario is our home market, given the first ever hand of PokerStars was played here over 20 years ago, so we are thrilled about the new regulated environment within which our players can play,” the operator’s Tom Warren said in the release. “A lot has changed in that time, but our commitment to offering our players the most epic and thrilling experience in the market hasn’t — and we can’t wait to get started.”
PokerStars, which is already partnered with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, is the 21st operator now live in Ontario, and regulators have said up to 70 gaming sites could be live in the province by the end of the year.
Responsible gaming loophole?
It appears as though some Ontario bettors are exploiting a responsible gaming loophole to void their losing bets.
According to Yahoo Finance reporter Jeff Lagerquist, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is aware of some gamblers who are self-excluding from sportsbooks in order to get refunds on losing bets. Currently, if you self-exclude from gambling in Ontario casinos, you won’t get any pending/losing wagers back. However, this isn’t the case with Ontario’s online sportsbooks, yet.
This means that, hypothetically, a bettor could place a wager with an online sportsbook, bet the other side of a game/event with another sportsbook, and then void the losing bet by excluding himself from the sportsbook with the lost wager.
Ontario regulators are working on a universal exclusion responsible gambling tool that will close this loophole, meaning if a gambler self-excludes at one Ontario sportsbook, they’ll also be ineligible to play at any other online sportsbook in the province.
If you have a gambling problem and self-exclude yourself from gambling in Ontario casinos they don't give you your money back on bets, and it applies to all casinos. Not so with betting for online sportsbooks. Yet. https://t.co/8rHxqiePhQ
— Kirsty March (@Kirsty_March) June 28, 2022
FansUnite to list on Toronto Stock Exchange
Vancouver-based FansUnite Entertainment Inc. this week announced plans to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), effective July 5.
The global online gaming company provides a full suite of betting technology solutions for online casino, sports betting, and esports. FansUnite is licensed in Ontario and its CEO Scott Burton sits on the board of the Canadian Gaming Association.
The common shares of the company will cease to trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange, but trading on the TSX will commence under its existing “FANS” symbol.
FansUnite is the parent company of North American-focused American Affiliate, which operates leading affiliate brands such as Betting Hero, Props.com, Wagers.com, and BetPrep.
— Thesis Capital Inc. (@ThesisCap) June 27, 2022
Benjie Levy moving into Penn leadership role
Penn National purchased theScore last August for $2 billion in cash and stock. Levy will split his time between theScore’s Toronto headquarters and Penn Interactive’s home base in Philadelphia.
“Fortunately, we didn’t have to look too far to find the perfect individual to fill the role,” Penn National CEO Jay Snowden told staff in a note, according to Canadian Gaming Business. “With our acquisition of theScore last year, we inherited one of the digital sports media and gaming industry’s brightest stars in Benjie Levy. I know Benjie is excited to pick up the baton and continue to build upon Jon’s legacy at Penn Interactive.”
PROLINE’s Stanley Cup insights
The Stanley Cup Playoffs came to an end Sunday night, with the Colorado Avalanche prevailing 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning to end the best-of-seven series in six games.
Colorado was the wire-to-wire favorite to win the Cup this year at most sportsbooks, but PROLINE +, Ontario’s first legal sportsbook, revealed some insights and interesting futures wagers made:
- Colorado opened the season with the best odds at +450 to win the Stanley Cup while Tampa was second at odds of +550 (Vegas was third at +700, Toronto was fourth at +1200).
- When the PROLINE market closed, Colorado held a little over 24% of all wagers while Tampa held 22% (Leafs were third with 15%).
- A $2,500 wager placed on May 31 paid out $5,250.
- A $300 wager placed on Nov. 14 paid out $2,175.
- A $6 wager on a four-pick parlay (Avalanche / Notre Dame +4 vs Alabama / Justin Thomas to win PGA Championship / DAL vs MTL Tie in Regulation) placed on March 17 paid out $3,129.
PROLINE recently announced a partnership with the NBA, closing out a quartet of deals with the big four sports leagues, which also include MLB, NHL, and NFL.
We are thrilled to announce that PROLINE is now an official sportsbook partner of the @NBA in Ontario. We can't wait to create new excitement and opportunities for basketball fans on PROLINE+ and PROLINE at retail. 🏀
— PROLINE (@OLGproline) June 23, 2022
FanDuel Canada partners with NFL
The NFL now has a second sportsbook partner in Canada: FanDuel.
We are so excited to announce our partnership with the NFL and to bring football fans across Ontario more ways to enjoy the game! pic.twitter.com/BvyG8FQub3
— FanDuel Canada (@FanDuelCanada) June 29, 2022
The multi-year partnership will expand FanDuel’s and the NFL’s existing U.S. partnership across North America.
“We’re thrilled to extend our partnership with the NFL to Canada,” said Dale Hooper, General Manager, FanDuel Canada, in a release. “Ontario sports fans are passionate about American football, and this collaborative effort will bring them more ways to enjoy the sport with friends and family in a fun and responsible way.”
FanDuel is also strategically partnered with MLSE and broadcaster TSN in Canada (owners of the Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Argonauts, and Toronto FC). TSN broadcasts many NFL games in Canada, so having both partnerships will be beneficial for the sportsbook’s exposure.