Each Thursday, Sports Handle recaps all the top sports betting news in Canada, highlights the event 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
- Pinnacle Gets Licensed To Enter Ontario Sports Betting Market
- Frustration Growing From Sportsbook Stakeholders Toward Ontario’s Regulators
- Daily Fantasy Sports Options Limited In Ontario At Onset Of NFL Season
- CFL Week 15 Wagering Preview: Lions Turn To Adams Jr. For Clash With Stampeders
Event of the week
Baltimore Orioles visit Toronto Blue Jays for three-game weekend series
The Blue Jays are an MLB-best 11-3 in the month of September heading into play Thursday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays. Toronto has taken three of the first four games in the five-game series with Tampa to move into sole possession of the top American League wild card spot.
Beginning Friday, the Blue Jays will welcome the Orioles to Rogers Centre for a crucial three-game set. Baltimore, which sits four games out of the final wild card spot entering play Thursday, will be desperate to make up ground against a Toronto team it’s 7-6 against so far this season. In those 13 head-to-head matchups, the Blue Jays and Orioles have played over the total in 10 of them.
On Wednesday night, Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. became the youngest player (23 years, 182 days) in franchise history to hit 100 home runs.
Welcome to the century club!
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.becomes the youngest Blue Jay to reach 100 home
The Blue Jays lead 1-0 over Tampa Bay.
📣 Live MLB Odds: Bet Now ⬇️https://t.co/g20x8ccnPc…
— NorthStar Bets Sportsbook (@NorthStarBet) September 14, 2022
Toronto is +2200 to win the World Series and +700 to win the American League at NorthStar Bets.
AGCO investigating FanDuel’s tech issue
Earlier today, FanDuel’s Sportsbook & Casino app experienced a technical incident in Canada caused by an IT change by a third-party provider. The incident impacted only customers logged in and active for a short period at approximately 12:00pm EDT today. During this time, some customers may have had access to certain account information that was not their own. Once discovered, FanDuel immediately shut down the platform, froze potentially affected accounts and resolved the technical issue. Customers directly impacted will be contacted by FanDuel customer service shortly.
Many customers took to Twitter to express their concerns about their personal data being visible to others on the network.
— Corey Matts (@coreymatts_27) September 8, 2022
Everyone should be filing a complaint with the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario against FanDuel for this data breach.
— JossSr (@adamjoss) September 7, 2022
Two days later, Ontario‘s regulator, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), announced it would be conducting “a full regulatory review” of the incident.
A technical incident was reported to the AGCO by @FanDuelCanada as required by Ontario's igaming standards. The AGCO is engaged with @FanDuelCanada to ensure necessary regulatory steps are taken, and will be conducting a full regulatory review. https://t.co/h2bV74fXTQ pic.twitter.com/dAo7bm44Gk
— AGCO (@Ont_AGCO) September 9, 2022
FanDuel was one of the first operators to launch in Ontario, on April 4, and the operator took the unique approach of using an advertising strategy centered solely on responsible gambling.
PointsBet’s $1 million curling bracket challenge
More details are emerging surrounding the PointsBet Invitational Curling Championship Bracket Contest for the event being held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, from Sept. 21-25.
The bonspiel will debut a new format to Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, which will feature 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams competing in a single-knockout tournament. PointsBet Canada is offering up a $1 million grand prize if an entrant correctly guesses the outcome of all 30 matches to complete a perfect bracket.
According to the contest rules, the contest is open to legal residents of all provinces of Canada, excluding Quebec, who are 19 years of age or older at the time of entry.
🚨 SWEEP16 ALERT 🚨
In partnership with @CurlingCanada 🇨🇦 we present the official Sweep 16 Bracket Challenge for the PointsBet Invitational! 🥌
Rock'ing prizes to be won AND if you nail a "Perfect Bracket" you can win $1,000,000!!! 😎
— PointsBet Canada (@PointsBetCanada) September 13, 2022
In addition to the official curling tournament, PointsBet will also be hosting a Celebrity Invitational on Sept. 23. The operator teased a few of the celebrities who will be participating with a Twitter post on Thursday morning. Jamaican-Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey, Canadian rapper Classified, former NHL-ers Shayne Corson and Marc Methot, and Randy from the Trailer Park Boys will be among the participants.
What do you get when you combine Olympians, NHL’ers 🏒, a rapper 🎤, cheeseburger aficionado 🍔 and some of Canada's best curlers 🥌?
The PointsBet Celebrity Invitational! pic.twitter.com/61Sld72zQP
— PointsBet Canada (@PointsBetCanada) September 15, 2022
BCLC cautions against illegal gambling websites
Just hours before the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams opened the NFL season last Thursday, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation put out a release cautioning bettors about the dangers of wagering with illegal websites.
With the NFL season kicking off tonight and the NHL season around the corner, BCLC is reminding British Columbians that https://t.co/gAddEOCXTb is B.C.’s only 100% legal gambling website and the only whose revenue goes back to the Province.
Learn more: https://t.co/HqYX9ootnH
— BCLC (@BCLC) September 8, 2022
“British Columbians should know that there are hundreds of gambling websites operating illegally in B.C. and that, unlike PlayNow.com, these illegal websites are not bound to provincial and federal laws and regulations that are in place to protect players,” said Marie-Noëlle Savoie, BCLC’s chief compliance officer and vice president of legal, compliance, and security.
“The NFL and NHL are two of the most popular leagues for sports bettors in B.C. and we want them to have a positive betting experience heading into the exciting, upcoming seasons,” Savoie continued. “For British Columbians who choose to bet on sports, we want them to choose PlayNow.com because it’s the only legal gambling website in B.C. and the only whose profits go back to the province to support things we all rely on, like healthcare, education, and community programs.”
In August, BCLC teamed up with four other Canadian provincial gaming corporations to form a coalition against illegal online gambling. The organizations are jointly calling on the federal government to crack down on black-market operators doing business in the country.
PlayNow.com is also the only regulated website in the province of Manitoba for players to gamble on. And BCLC is helping the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority develop its new online gaming portal, which is set to launch in November.
TheScore betting big on NFL
TheScore Bet created some major media buzz in Ontario with its unique golf marketing activations this summer, but now the operator is shifting gears to create an ultimate NFL tailgate experience for sports fans in six major cities — London, Toronto, Windsor, Kingston, Oshawa, and Hamilton — in the province.
The operator will be rolling out a custom-fitted 45-foot tractor trailer that converts to a full entertainment setup positioned at popular pubs and sports bars each Sunday from Sept. 18-Oct. 23.
The tailgate experience is free to attend for anyone 19 or older, and there will be exclusive spaces reserved for theScore Bet users. Prizes, food and drink, and classic tailgate games will be offered to patrons while they watch all of the NFL action on big-screen TVs.
Football is BACK, so we’re going BIG and rolling up to your hometown with the 10x Tailgate Tour:
🏈 All the gridiron action
— theScore Bet (@theScoreBet) September 9, 2022
Caesars also announced this week it would be rolling out a similar brand activation in the United States involving a truck tour to various NFL venues throughout the season.
What's UP, Buffalo‼️
From HOFers hanging out to epic tailgating, @wingoz lets you know what's going down at the Caesars Sportsbook & Casino Truck at Highmark Stadium ahead of MNF 🎉#CaesarsSportsTour | #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/2nz4qVAlvU
— Caesars Sportsbook (@CaesarsSports) September 14, 2022
Rivalry launches first casino game
On Tuesday, Toronto-based Rivalry announced in an email release that it had launched its first casino game.
Aviator, a popular online game in the “crash” category, is available in markets under Rivalry’s Isle of Man gaming license. The game is expected to be live in Ontario in the coming months, according to the release.
“Our strategy is to continuously expand our product offering and provide our customers with fresh content that is consistent with our brand,” said Steven Salz, co-founder and CEO of Rivalry. “With a strong foundation in esports betting and a growing traditional sports business, offering casino in an authentically Rivalry way is the next step for us. Aviator is a great selection as our first-ever third-party casino game, as it is simple, fun, easy to learn, and has a live chat element that aligns with our focus on community.”
Rivalry is known for its comprehensive esports and sports betting offerings, and Aviator is the first of several casino games expected to be added to the platform in the coming months.
✈️ Aviator ✈️ crash game has become a very popular game 🤩
Don’t know anything about this game or want to learn more?
— Bitcasino.io (@Bitcasinoio) March 22, 2021
For many online operators, iCasino represents a huge portion of betting revenue. Up until now, Rivalry has solely focused on its esports and sports betting products.
OLG’s Week 1 NFL insights
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation shared some Week 1 NFL data in an email to Sports Handle this week.
OLG reports the NFL was the highest wagered league Sunday on its PROLINE sports betting platform, accounting for over 70% of all bets taken.
The most popular game of the week of any sport was Thursday’s NFL season opener between the Buffalo Bills, Ontario’s adopted NFL team, and the Los Angeles Rams.
WE GET TO BET ON FOOTBALL TODAY! pic.twitter.com/slMSU5UNII
— PROLINE (@OLGproline) September 8, 2022
Player props were also a hit with the “Anytime TD Scorer” being the most popular among bettors.
OLG offers both retail and online sports betting via PROLINE + to residents of Ontario. PROLINE + was the first online sportsbook to launch in the province following the decriminalization of single-game wagering on Aug. 27, 2021.
OLG also announced this week the launch of the My PlayBreak self-exclusion program as an extension of the provincial lottery corporation’s PlaySmart responsible gambling platform.
My PlayBreak is a voluntary tool that makes it easier to take a break from gambling for a defined amount of time. Users can also now opt in to receive check-in calls from Responsible Gambling Council staff to discuss treatment and support services for problem gambling.
“RGC commends OLG on its launch of My PlayBreak as part of its globally recognized responsible gambling program — PlaySmart,” said Shelley White, CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council, in the email release. “This new program offers a more person-centered approach that is not only more accessible but will also support positive outcomes for those participating.
“RGC is proud to provide services to OLG in the day-to-day operations of PlaySmart Centres on-site at 29 casinos in Ontario which also support 37 charitable gaming centers. We look forward to continuing to work with OLG and gaming operators to maximize player uptake of OLG’s leading responsible gambling program.”