Sports betting can be complicated. Just try explaining the point spread to someone who knows nothing about gambling. But the product that NorthStar Bets offers bettors in Canada is pretty simple: it’s the app on your phone that allows you to place legal bets in Ontario.
A sportsbook is selling more than wagering opportunities, though. It’s selling an experience, the feeling of belonging to a community of bettors, and the fun that comes from putting a few bucks down on a game before settling in to watch it. Presumably, this is what NorthStar Bets is selling.
Canadian-owned NorthStar Bets is licensed and officially launched in the Ontario market on April 4, 2022. The only problem is that the new sportsbook is in its infancy. NorthStar Bets doesn’t have the same prestige as a DraftKings or FanDuel as an app and website.
So what does NorthStar Gaming’s product look like? Now that we know what the sportsbook look and what it entails, we can give you a review of all the details you need to know about NorthStar Bets, including its partnerships, betting markets and banking options it offers.
NorthStar Bets has officially launched in Ontario! Is that a good thing? It certainly seems like a good thing. The stream of press releases coming from NorthStar Gaming would win a prize for buzzword bingo. Integration, insights, storylines, leverage, content, and our favorite, omnichannel, all make an appearance. They were just one “synergy” away from really nailing it.
But if you cut through all the buzzwords, there’s some real potential in the product they have released. NorthStar Bets is owned by NordStar Capital, which also owns Torstar Corporation, owner of the Toronto Star newspaper and other digital brands. People in Ontario are no doubt familiar with Torstar, or at least the many brands it controls. Producing content that people want to read, like the Toronto Star’s sports section, is valuable. If the Star can successfully integrate sports betting into its content, people might sign up for a NorthStar Bets account.
Imagine reading an article in the Toronto Star and having a way to bet on the teams mentioned. An article previewing the evening’s Maple Leafs game could mention the spread with a link that would allow the reader to instantly make a bet on the Leafs using NorthStar Bets without even having to navigate to another page. The Star is the most influential newspaper in Ontario. It stands to reason that its sizable readership base would be interested in a sportsbook associated with the newspaper.
Back in the day, pre-2018, newspaper writers never mentioned gambling or point spreads in the articles they wrote. It was controversial to even list the betting lines in the corner of the results section of the sports page. Of course, this seems quaint now, with betting lines scrolling at the bottom of ESPN and TSN and leagues partnering with large sportsbooks. A sportsbook owned by the same company that owns the Toronto Star is just the natural progression of sports betting becoming integrated into the daily life of sports fans in Canada.
The Toronto Star has a new sports betting section with NorthStar Bets content integration.
NorthStar Bets is setting itself up for success by partnering with leading technology companies to help power its soon-to-be-released product. Three such partnerships have been announced.
A technology provider to many leading sportsbooks, including BetRivers and Unibet, Kambi does all the behind-the-scenes stuff to make sure the numbers offered by sportsbooks are fair, quickly updated, and cover every possible bet. Ever wonder how sportsbooks can offer odds on even the most obscure game, like soccer’s Albanian Super League? Kambi is how. NorthStar Bets uses Kambi’s technology and wealth of information to decide which sports to offer. Kambi does the research and creates the algorithms that quickly update odds. Sportsbooks would need hundreds of employees to manage and update all the bets they offer, so many of them rely on technology providers to power the odds and do the nuts-and-bolts work.
Kambi is to sportsbooks what Playtech is to online casinos. Playtech is one of the biggest global technology providers for iGaming operators. All those flashy and cool-looking slot machines and table games you find on the top online casinos require a lot of work and back-end technology to make sure they are programmed to operate fairly and comply with local regulations. That’s what Playtech does. NorthStar Bets’ announcement of a partnership with Playtech shows the company’s commitment to building up a top-notch online casino along with its sportsbook. This strategy is used by many large sportsbooks operating in US states with both sports betting and iGaming (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Michigan, and West Virginia). It’s quite lucrative for a vendor like Playtech to add a casino to an existing sportsbook app so bettors can put a few bucks on their favorite team and play a hand of blackjack without having to switch apps.
The Parleh (get it?) calls itself Canada’s Sports Betting Network. NorthStar Bets announced that it is a featured sportsbook affiliate partner for the fledgling digital property. The Parleh is certainly putting out a solid product, with a rotating group of young, up-and-coming content creators churning out daily videos filled with picks and betting insight. NorthStar Bets’ partnership certainly helps The Parleh solidify itself as a reputable online source for sports betting news, but with Parleh’s limited social media reach (1,470 Twitter followers vs. 616,660 for theScore), NorthStar Bets seems to be investing in the future rather than the present.
You don’t need us to tell you that Canadians like to watch and wager on hockey. That goes without saying. NorthStar Bets offers all sorts of hockey wagering options. But what about other sports? If you’re reading this in Canada, you know that Canadians love to watch and wager on all the major American sports. It’s a given that all the major professional sports leagues are available on NorthStar Bets. Some sportsbooks stop there, or maybe sprinkle some Premier League soccer and MMA markets depending on the time of year. Other sportsbooks go all in, offering sports from all over the globe, from Indian T20 cricket to Aussie Rules Football to German handball, and many more. Some of the fun of betting on sports is finding new sports to bet on. Since NorthStar Bets has partnered with Kambi, every professional sports league across the world will have plenty of betting opportunities available, including:
Sportsbooks offer markets, or types of bets, on different games. Some high-profile matchups can have over 100 different markets. The rise of sports betting has brought with it an unprecedented, some might say overwhelming, number of betting opportunities. Since NorthStar Bets is powered by Kambi, we expect virtually every possible market to be covered. Bet types that will be offered by NorthStar Bets will include:
Every sportsbook has different banking options available. Some only have a few choices while others have pretty much every option. It is unclear why some sportsbooks limited deposit and withdrawal options, but it likely has to do with money and how much they want to invest in a service that doesn’t directly generate revenue. More isn’t always better, but fewer options can be quite frustrating, particularly if the options available aren’t commonly available at online casinos or sportsbooks. People only want to have a limited number of eWallets and online accounts, so having to sign up for a service like Skrill that is only used by one particular sportsbook may be a dealbreaker that pushes a customer to another sportsbook. That said, NorthStar Bets has a robust number of banking options available, including the following:
Ted Dahlstrom works in the Seattle area as an Evergreen & Commercial Content Manager for Better Collective. Ted’s background is in government and communication, but his passion is writing about sports and sports betting, which led him to BC in an unexpected alignment. He avidly supports all the Seattle sports teams and Gonzaga basketball.
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