- Ontario will launch their regulated and competitive iGaming market on April 4.
- The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is the oversight body for sports betting in the province.
- Ontario’s sports betting market should be one of the most competitive–and most lucrative–ecosystems found anywhere in the world.
We’ve already talked extensively about the soon-to-launch competitive igaming market in Ontario which will open for business on April 4, 2022. It should be a great market for sports bettors–as well as being profitable for operators and lucrative for the provincial government.
Ontario not only has a great regulatory framework but a population that ranks among the biggest states in the US. With a 2021 population of 14,915,270–representing a 10.91% growth rate over the previous five years)–Ontario would be the fifth most populous state in the US as we explained in a previous article:
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.
More importantly, it would make Ontario the second largest sports betting jurisdiction in the US. The good news is that population is all it has in common with the New York regulatory dumpster fire. If you want a thorough explanation of why Ontario’s regulatory framework is so exciting you can read this article:
ONTARIO’S REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR SPORTS BETTING IS INCREDIBLE
CURRENT ONTARIO ONLINE GAMING LICENSEES (AS OF MARCH 11, 2022)
Judging from the variety of companies already licensed in Ontario I’d set the O/U for number of online/mobile sportsbooks by the start of NFL season at 45.5. With iGaming licensees we’re looking at 60 or 70. Right now, there are 14 total licensees (sports betting/iGaming combined). That includes one licensees with two separate licenses (not sure what that’s all about) and the provincial lottery run sports betting platform Proline+. Given the comprehensive betting options they provide and the fact that they’ll be operating in a competitive market (at least on the online/mobile front) this is a rare case where the lottery will count as an ‘out’.
We’re going to run down the current roster of licensees over the next few articles. I’ll include a quick profile of ones that might not be familiar and several of these will be followed up with a full article. I’ll include links to other articles in this series at the bottom of the page. List is in the same order as provided by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) web interface:
FITZDARES: This is the kind of interesting market entrant you get when the goal is actual competition, not enrichment of cronies and political benefactors. London based Fitzdares has been in the bookmaking business since 1882 and bills itself as ‘the finest bookmaker in the world’. There’s absolutely nothing in North America to compare it to. As in, they have their own private club at 50 Davies Street, Mayfair called The Fitzdares Club ‘where you can watch your favourite sport in both comfort and luxury’. It’s about as far as you can get from the Southland Dog Track in West Memphis, Arkansas. West Memphis has been ranked as the worst place to live in Arkansas, and Arkansas has been ranked as the worst US state to live in. You do the math–I’ll be having a martini and eating a lobster croissant at The Fitzdares Club. Stay tuned for a full article about Fitzdares coming soon.
LEOVEGAS: Outside of the US, LeoVegas is one of the biggest brands in the industry. They’re already a well known name in Canada–their most recent earnings report (Q4 2021) was released in February and indicated that they’re the #3 casino brand in Canada. Canada represented 13% of total revenues in 2022 and the move into Toronto will serve to build on that. The report also discussed a forthcoming move into the US market starting with New Jersey with ‘future expansion into new states’. They have a market access deal with Caesars in New Jersey for online casino games. What their plans are otherwise are TBA–CEO Gustaf Hagman spoke of the US expansion along with an ‘increased focus on sport’ in February 2022:
“(Future plans include) US expansion, which is extremely interesting, our increased focus on sport, and we have also started to build our own games. And of course, new geographies and brands, and there is much more to come.“I think we are in the best shape ever to continue to expand and grow LeoVegas. The roaring lion is ready for another 10 years.”
LeoVegas is expected to offer sports betting and iGaming in Ontario. Here’s the earnings report mentioned above:
NSUS LIMITED: NSUS is a well known gaming industry consulting group. In this case, they’re representing Caesars Entertainment’s WSOP brand with the domain ‘WSOP.ca’ listed on the AGCO website. Obviously, they’ll be offering poker but as of yet no further information. Stay tuned.
POINTSBET: The Canadian subsidiary of PointsBet was one of the first licensees approved by the AGCO. They’ll definitely be offering sports betting in Ontario and very likely casino games.
We talked about the following licensees in Part 1 of this series:
We’ll wrap up the current licensees in Part 3.