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.
Survey says! Canada not embracing betting
A survey by Better Collective-owned Canada Sports Betting found that 55% of those surveyed weren’t aware that sports betting is now legal and, of those who were aware, 55.5% said they had not placed a bet since wagering went live April 4. Conducted July 19-20, the survey includes 1,222 Canadians, about half male and half female.
“I think that [55.5 percent figure] is to be expected, [as] there’s going to be a learning curve,” JD McNamara, country director, Canada, for Canada Sports Betting and Better Collective, told the Canadian Press. “A lot of the discussion at the beginning of the market is market focused and not necessarily consumer focused.”
Spoke to @danralphcp about the data we collected in our survey of Ontario sports bettors re: their experiences in the new market thus far. We believe there are great insights and takeaways from the survey so I was grateful to Dan for the chance to chat!https://t.co/PIHdwYoM35
— JD McNamara (@jdmcnama) September 6, 2022
The survey also indicated that 46.9% of those surveyed said they’re not interested in betting online. Ontario’s market, which is expected to be the biggest in Canada, has more than 25 digital sports betting platforms. Online casino is also legal, though the survey was focused on sports betting.
“Those results tell us we have a large percentage of people who’re interested in betting but haven’t got into the market yet,” McNamara said. “And the belief is it’s a lack of clarity, a lack of education thus far in the market for them.”
Event of the week
Thursday Night Football: Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams
Nearly a decade has passed since the Buffalo Bills formally terminated the Bills Toronto Series, a contract in which the franchise played one regular-season game at Toronto’s Rogers Centre per season through 2013.
Despite the departure, there are still legions of passionate Bills fans north of the border in Ontario. After all, the Canadian border is only about 17 miles northwest of Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. During the preseason, FanDuel’s Ontario sportsbook offered boosted bets for Bills backers who took an alternative line on Buffalo’s win total, betting over 12.5.
When the Bills face the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday in the NFL’s season opener, Buffalo starts the season as the top odds choice at numerous sportsbooks to win the Super Bowl. On the eve of the kickoff to the season, the Bills had identical odds of +600 to win Super Bowl LVII at the following books: Caesars, FanDuel, PointsBet, and BetMGM. DraftKings also listed Buffalo as the favorite to capture the title, at slightly shorter odds of +550.
The odds on all of these Super Bowl matchups picked by the #NFL Network crew ⬇️
Bills OVER Buccaneers +3500
Bills OVER 49ers +6500
Bills OVER Rams +4500
Bills OVER Packers +4500
Bills OVER Cowboys +7500#GamblingTwitter pic.twitter.com/GQeyQTISz3
— Odds and Picks (@OddsandPicks) September 7, 2022
A number of books are also seeing considerable one-way action on the Bills against the defending Super Bowl champion Rams. At DraftKings, for instance, bettors took the Bills (-2) on 68% of all spread tickets as of Wednesday afternoon. On the moneyline, wagers on the Bills (-130) comprised about 61% of the overall handle. One prominent sports betting executive joked Wednesday that he is rooting for the Rams due to the large disparity at his book.
Bettors in western Canada are even showing favoritism for the Bills. At PlayAlberta.ca, the Bills (+800) are the highest-bet team to win the Super Bowl, representing about 8.9% of future bets. Two other AFC teams, the Broncos and Raiders, are next, at 8.4% and 6.7%, respectively.
Get into ‘Bet Mode’
TheScore Bet Wednesday shared two new comedic ads built around its “Get Into Bet Mode” campaign. The ads spotlight actor Jon Lovitz, Canadian comedian Russell Peters, and Canadian actor Patrick J. Adams. Both ads feature a moment where a digital window (shaped like a phone) opens and Lovitz, who initially made his mark on Saturday Night Live, walks out and offers wagering advice with a twist. The ads are designed to highlight that theScore Bet will be offering “10x more sports betting options,” according to a company release.
Here’s a look at the ads:
Bet99 moving into legal market
Kings Entertainment and Sports Venture Holdings announced Tuesday that former gray-market operator Bet99 has been approved for a license by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). According to a press release, the platform has plans to launch in the regulated market after it signs a contract with iGaming Ontario.
Bet99 is a hyper-local wagering site that has myriad Canadian partnerships, among them deals with the Ottawa Senators, CF Montreal, the Montreal Alouettes, UFC Hall of Famer Georges St-Pierre, NHL All-Star Auston Matthews, and two-time Olympian Alysha Newman.
Playson coming online
The AGCO last week awarded an online gaming license to Playson, which is live in 20 markets around the world. The company does not offer sports betting but, according to SBC Americas, does offer a variety of online casino games, including slots like Buffalo Power: Hold and Win, Legend of Cleopatra Megaways, and Royal Coins: Hold and Win. With the license, Playson can now offer its games to licensed operators in Ontario.
New retail sportsbook coming
According to a report from AM 800, the Caesars-Windsor Casino has plans to build out a brick-and-mortar sportsbook. The book will be Caesars’ first in Ontario, though it has 20-plus casinos across the U.S. The casino’s union is hoping that sportsbook will be just one more way to attract customers.
“Hopefully that’s going to create some more business for us as well. The shows are back and business is booming. It’s not the way it used to be, though,” Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy told the radio station. “The sportsbook is just going to make sure that we continue to grow and grow and grow.”
Do you guys know we're this close? Did you know that Detroit is NORTH of Windsor?That photo is looking upstream to lake Huron, Detroit river Lake Erie is downstream. GM world headquarters The Ren Cen as well as Caesars Windsor Casino both visible. Been in both many times! pic.twitter.com/4yub1okxuU
— leftbob (@leftbobgolfer) December 14, 2021
The casino’s unionized workers have been at odds with Caesars since March. The sides continue to negotiate, six months after 93% of union members voted in favor of a revised collective agreement. The biggest remaining issues, according to AM 800, are how the casino can draw more customers from south of the border — the casino sits just over the river from Detroit — and whether the government will loosen travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.