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
- BetMGM Announces NHL Star Connor McDavid As Newest Brand Ambassador
- Who Would Make The Best Canadian Sports Betting Brand Ambassadors?
- Ontario Regulators Clarify IGaming Advertising Standards Ahead Of Launch
- OLG Becomes NHL’s First Official Sportsbook Partner In Canada
Game of the week
NHL Heritage Classic — Maple Leafs vs. Sabres
The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres will square off in an outdoor showcase Sunday at Tim Hortons Field, the home of the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It will be the NHL’s 35th outdoor game and third this season following the Winter Classic between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild on New Year’s Day and the Stadium Series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators last month.
Odds aren’t yet available for the game, but the Maple Leafs should be heavily favored for the marquee contest. It will be the third of four meetings between the teams this season. Buffalo stunned Toronto March 2 with a 5-1 win as roughly a +400 underdog (depending on the sportsbook). The Maple Leafs took the first matchup, 5-4, as roughly a -200 favorite back on Nov. 13.
Weather, always a factor in outdoor games, shouldn’t be an issue Sunday afternoon. The forecast calls for a slight chance of light flurries with temperatures around 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
CGA signs deal with IBIA
The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), a national trade association that represents leading gaming operators and suppliers, announced Monday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), the leading global voice on integrity for the licensed betting industry.
The memorandum provides a framework for cooperation and coordination between the two organizations on betting and integrity issues to protect the Ontario market, which is set to launch April 4, as well as the wider Canadian sports betting market.
The IBIA has been accredited by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, one of the two government entities responsible for establishing the legal framework for iGaming in Ontario in conjunction with iGaming Ontario, as an independent integrity monitor. All licensed operators in Ontario will be required to be part of a monitoring system.
“IBIA will be one of only a handful of sports integrity monitors recognized by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario for licensed operators and we believe there is great value in deepening our relationship with the organization,” said Paul Burns, president and CEO, Canadian Gaming Association, in a press release. “As the CGA looks ahead to the opening of Ontario’s iGaming market and the expansion of sports betting products and services across Canada in 2022, the protection of athletes and integrity of sports betting is a key priority.”
The IBIA represents many of the largest regulated sports betting operators in the world, with its account-based integrity monitoring system covering over $137 billion in betting transactions per annum globally.
The two organizations will work together to:
- Detect and report suspicious activities in betting markets.
- Use detailed market data to investigate and punish corruption.
- Develop educational activities to protect players and sporting events.
- Support sports bodies, law enforcement, and regulatory authorities in the fight against fraud and manipulation.
- Channel consumers to the regulated market.
More Ontario iGaming licensing news
News continues to pour in regarding iGaming licenses in Ontario as several more private operators made announcements this week about their launch plans in the province.
British Columbia-based FansUnite announced Monday it had become fully registered with the AGCO.
— FansUnite (@fansunite) March 7, 2022
“As we scale our operations, we are focused on both the domestic and international markets. The gaming-related supplier license will enable us to gain an early-mover advantage within the Canadian online gambling industry as a betting solutions provider for new sportsbooks and online casinos looking to enter the market,” said CEO Scott Burton in the release.
Bragg Gaming, based in Toronto, also confirmed its Ontario license Tuesday.
Bragg Gaming Group is pleased to be among the very first iGaming suppliers to have been granted a license by the AGCO, the regulatory agency responsible for the oversight of the modern, open and regulated iGaming and sports betting market in Ontario.https://t.co/LkbtG4HT97$BRAG
— Bragg Gaming (@Bragg_Gaming) March 8, 2022
The license will allow Bragg to supply local iGaming and sports betting operators with its player account management (PAM) platform, iGaming content, and managed services when the market opens on April 4.
“Hot on the heels of our recent launches in the UK, which has similar regulatory standards to Ontario, and the Netherlands, where we successfully launched local partner brands on our PAM, as well as content and aggregation products, we are now fully ready to support our Canadian partners as the market prepares to open up,” said Chief Commercial Officer Scott Looney in a release.
Finally, Rush Interactive (BetRivers) appeared on the AGCO’s website of approved operators on Thursday morning. This is no surprise, as the company has been running TV ads in the province featuring former TSN SportsCentre sports anchor Dan O’Toole as its new ambassador since the Olympics in February.
Also, it appears Bet365, currently operating as a gray sportsbook in Canada, is planning to participate in Ontario’s regulated market. The company has launched a “Canada App” that has all the same features as its gray site, except there’s a location verification process to ensure the bettor is located within provincial borders.
Bet365 launches an official “Canada App”
Bet365 has dominated the grey market in Ontario with ~35% of the market share pic.twitter.com/UNaVcDu3gZ
— Adam Seaborn (@AHBSeaborn) March 7, 2022
As of Thursday morning, six other operators with approved licenses were listed on the AGCO website: Annexio Limited (lottogo.ca), NSUS Limited (wsop.ca), PointsBet Canada, Rivalry Corp., theScore Bet, and VHL Ontario Limited (888.ca).