As online sports betting in Ontario continues to proliferate, provincial regulators are keen on expanding retail sports wagering as another alternative for consumers.
Last week, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) announced that Ontario’s casino service providers would move forward with the introduction of retail sportsbooks at several casinos across the province. Nearly a dozen in-person casinos unveiled retail sports betting operations Friday.
The announcement comes nearly seven months after the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) opened up the Ontario iGaming market to private sportsbook operators in April.
“We are proud to have worked closely with the gaming industry and our partners in the Ontario government on this next phase of growth in Ontario’s gaming market,” Duncan Hannay, president and CEO of OLG, said in a statement. “Sportsbooks in casinos will offer a diverse and integrated entertainment experience for players, give our service providers a stake in the sports gaming market, and bring more jobs and economic benefits to host communities.”
Single-game sports betting was decriminalized in Canada in June 2021 when the Senate of Canada passed a bill legalizing the activity on the federal level.
Great Canadian Entertainment, which owns casinos across the province, immediately swung into action. It opened sportsbook lounges Friday in four casinos: Great Blue Heron Casino in Port Perry, Pickering Casino Resort, Elements Casino Brantford, and Shorelines Casino Belleville. In addition, Great Canadian introduced sports betting kiosks at Casino Woodbine in Etobicoke, Shorelines Casino Peterborough, Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands, Elements Casino Mohawk in Milton, Elements Casino Grand River in Elora, and Elements Casino Flamboro.
“We remain laser-focused on enhancing the overall experience for our guests at our gaming and entertainment destinations, and the launch of sports betting at our Ontario destinations is another demonstration of these efforts,” Tony Rodio, who serves as CEO of Great Canadian Entertainment, said in announcing the additions.
Great Canadian Entertainment Launches In-person Sports Betting Across Ten of its Ontario Casinos https://t.co/avW0TGT6cS
— hipther_tweets (@hipther) October 31, 2022
There are indications that more casinos are on the verge of rolling out retail sportsbook operations. Sports betting technology provider Kambi has come to terms on deals to power retail sports betting operations at two major casino properties: Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara.
“I’d like to congratulate OLG for partnering with Ontario’s gaming operators to bring sportsbooks to casinos,” said Paul Burns, who serves as president and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association. “This ongoing collaboration will result in new and expanded options for sports betting — including some first-of-their-kind sportsbooks in Canada — which will attract more people to visit Ontario’s casinos and encourage continued growth across the industry.”
For the three-month period ending Sept. 30, Ontario bettors wagered more than $6 billion through the private iGaming market, according to the Ontario AGCO, resulting in about $267 million in total gaming revenue. The figures account for online sports betting, iCasino, and online poker combined. Previously, Ontarians wagered more than $4 billion for the three-month period ending June 30, which produced gaming revenue of about $162 million.
The OLG is not releasing a list of retail sportsbooks, nor is it publishing a timeline of tentative sportsbook openings at retail casinos throughout the province.