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DraftKings Now Live In Ontario With Sports Betting And iGaming

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • DraftKings has launched their sports betting and online casino platform in Ontario.
  • DraftKings was officially licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) on May 13, 2022.
  • Ontario launched their regulated and competitive iGaming market on April 4.

Earlier today, we reported on the launch of the JACK Casino free to play sportsbook and in the process talked about sports betting regulation in Ohio. TL;DR: Ohio bureaucrats are bumbling their way through the creation of their regulatory framework by wasting time and resources telling professionally operated, publicly traded gaming companies how to run a sportsbook. Here’s the basic gist of Ohio’s sports betting ecosystem:

On December 8, 2021, the General Assembly passed House Bill 29, legalizing and regulating sports gaming in Ohio. The bill, which took effect March 23, 2022, allows sports gaming through licensed operators of online sportsbooks and brick-and-mortar establishments. The bill sets a comprehensive licensing and regulatory framework under the jurisdiction and rulemaking authority of the Commission. The bill also creates the Ohio sports gaming lottery, operated by the Ohio Lottery Commission through terminals at certain liquor permit establishments.

The bill sets January 1, 2023, as the date by which sports gaming must be approved to begin and requires that all forms of sports gaming be allowed to start accepting wagers on the same date.

They’ve frittered away a couple of months creating regulations mandating practices such as creating ‘house rules’ and monitoring bets in the interest of integrity. You know, things that every sportsbook since the beginning of time has done. The dubious decision to involve the state lottery in the process will serve to further gum up the works. That said, they’ll be ready to launch on January 1, 2023–but only because they’re required to do so by law. Were it not for this deadline, they’d likely be doing the same thing this time next year.

At the other extreme, we’ve got the best sports betting regulatory framework in the world up north in Ontario. They created their regulatory framework on the crazy premise that sports betting professionals know more about running a sportsbook than politicians and bureaucrats, and thus don’t require regulatory micromanagement. When you get out of the way of actual professionals, you can get things up and running quickly. Case in point–last week we reported that DraftKings had been licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and would ‘go live’ after jumping through the remaining regulatory hoops. At the time, I noted:

My guess is that they’ll sail through this part of the process so you could see DraftKings up and running by mid-June.

I based this estimate on their licensing date (May 13), the timeframe that the Ontario regulators give for completing the process and what I’ve seen from the other companies in the province as they work their way through the approval system. Well, I was half right–DraftKings ‘sailed through’ the rest of the process. As in ‘sailed through’ to the point that it took them five days from licensing to launch!

Today, DraftKings announced that they’re now open for business in Ontario:

DraftKings Inc. (Nasdaq: DKNG) today announced the launch of its online sportsbook and online casino products in Ontario, Canada. DraftKings will deliver customers in Ontario a best-in-class sports betting experience through its top-rated sportsbook app, as well as more than 130 online casino game variations through DraftKings Casino such as baccarat, blackjack, roulette and slots.

The DraftKings Sportsbook will provide Ontarians with legal and regulated opportunities to place bets across various sports leagues and sporting events, including the 2022 NHL Playoffs, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, this year’s highly anticipated FIFA World Cup and more. Customers in Ontario will be able to enjoy an array of parlay options, including DraftKings’ same-game-parlay feature – all available at their fingertips through the user-friendly DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder, chairman and CEO, had these comments about his company’s Canadian launch:

“DraftKings’ entry into Canada with our online sportsbook and online casino products is a significant milestone in our expansion efforts as we reach nearly 40-percent of Canada’s total population. We look forward to providing the passionate fanbase in Ontario with the most entertaining and responsible gaming experience possible.”

The arrogance of politicians and bureaucrats know no bounds. Ohio is just the latest example of a state that has no clue about the realities of the sports betting business circa 2022. Sports betting companies–with very few exceptions–know what they’re doing. Yet states waste time codifying into regulation what is already ‘standard operating procedure’. As I’ve reiterated time and time again, sports betting isn’t new thus a state’s regulatory framework doesn’t need to treat it like it is. Just charge them a fair licensing fee, hold them to the same standards as any other business and get out of their way. Like Ontario has.

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