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BetMGM Set For Sportsbook Launch In Ontario

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • BetMGM is the latest sportsbook to be licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
  • BetMGM recently announced the addition of Edmonton Oilers’ captain and reigning NHL MVP Connor McDavid to their brand ambassador roster.
  • The company also recently extended their promotional partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL).

You don’t sign the best hockey player on the planet to a promotional deal unless you’re getting ready to enter the Canadian market. That’s why BetMGM’s entrance into the soon-to-launch Ontario gaming market has been a foregone conclusion since they announced Edmonton Oilers’ captain Connor McDavid as a brand ambassador. Earlier today, BetMGM’s name was added to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) licensing database earlier today. BetMGM hasn’t commented on their forthcoming launch, but they’ll definitely offer sports betting and almost definitely launch their casino gaming platform. Poker is also a possibility and particularly since Caesars Entertainment will launch their WSOP (World Series of Poker) brand in the province.

We’ve already talked a lot about Ontario and you can expect plenty of additional coverage forthcoming. There’s a good reason for this extensive coverage––and for good reason. Ontario looks to have created the most intelligent regulatory framework for online/mobile sports betting of any North American jurisdiction. It should be a great market for sports betting enthusiasts, a profitable market for sportsbooks and a huge revenue generator for the provincial government.

The intelligent regulatory environment should combine with the province’s demographics to create what could quickly become the biggest sports betting/iGaming market by revenue in North America. Americans might not realize the size of Ontario’s population. It is Canada’s most populous province with an estimated 2021 population of 14,915,270. This represents a growth rate of 10.91% since 2016 and 38.81% of Canada’s population lives in Ontario. Comparing the population of Ontario to the US states emphasizes the potential of Ontario’s sports betting industry. Ontario’s population would make it the 5th most populous state in the US behind only California, Texas, Florida and New York.

Expect BetMGM to drop a press release in the next few days. The company most recently launched in the US state of Illinois, though they didn’t say anything about their Ontario plans in the press release. They’ve also made a couple of promotional moves of late that, while not explicitly targeted at the Canadian market definitely won’t hurt them there. MGM Resorts and BetMGM recently extended their partnership with the NHL. Then there’s the aforementioned Connor McDavid deal–that’s a very significant one as McDavid becomes the first active athlete from the North American major sports to serve as a sportsbook brand ambassador. As a sidebar, worth mentioning that McDavid’s ‘first active athlete’ status comes with an asterisk. Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews announced a promotional deal with Swiss registered/Curacao licensed Bet99. Although Matthews is technically only promoting the free to play site at Bet99.net that’s purely semantics. Bet99 is also licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and could end up seeking Ontario licensing.

BetMGM is the sports betting/interactive gaming subsidiary of MGM Resorts, created in partnership with London listed Entain PLC. Entain reported their full year results for 2021 in early March, and in the analyst call offered subsequently confirmed that BetMGM would be entering the Ontario market. Entain is also planning to enter the market with a very familiar brand that they own, Party Poker. Party Poker offers sports betting in some markets, so what they’re planning to offer in Ontario remains unclear. In addition, Entain recently purchased Sports Interaction parent company Avid Gaming. Sports Interaction has been a well known brand in Canada for years to the point that they’ve been billing themselves as ‘Canada’s Sportsbook and Casino’. They’re licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission but you have to think that they’ll look to get licensed in Ontario as well.

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