- 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:
CURRENT ONTARIO ONLINE GAMING LICENSEES (AS OF MARCH 13, 2022)
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:
RIVALRY CORP/RIVALRY ONTARIO: The AGCO website has a license for each of the aforementioned entities. They have different license numbers so I’m assuming it isn’t a typo. Not sure why they need two separate licenses though it no doubt has something to do with their corporate structure. They list their corporate headquarters as the Isle of Man with their Ontario subsidiary based in Toronto.
You can add them to the list of new-ish companies doing interesting stuff that can only flourish in a jurisdiction that prioritizes competition and innovation over serving up ‘political patronage’ to legacy gaming businesses and/or political cronies. Here’s the corporate profile of Rivalry from the press release announcing their Ontario licensing:
Rivalry Corp. wholly owns and operates Rivalry Limited, a leading sport betting and media property offering fully regulated online wagering on esports, traditional sports, and casino for the next generation of bettors. Rivalry Limited currently holds an Isle of Man license, considered one of the premier online gambling jurisdictions. Based in Toronto, Rivalry operates a global team in more than 18 countries and growing. Rivalry Limited was granted its Isle of Man license in early 2018, officially launching in August of that year, and the Company is currently in the process of obtaining additional country licenses. The Company also has a variety of originally developed products, including Quest, an on-site engagement experience, and an original casino game called Rushlane, a proprietary casino game that marks the creation of a new category for online gaming: Massively Multiplayer Online Gambling Games (MMOGG).
Rivalry is clearly an esports focused betting platform though they also offer wagering on ‘traditional’ sports. They’ll be doing a similar mix in Ontario though I’m assuming that they’ll emphasize the mainstream sports a bit more (eg: hockey). At least that’s how I’d play it. No indication about whether they’re planning to do casino games but why wouldn’t they? Here’s the current Rivalry website at rivalry.com. Depending on where you are, it may be geo-blocked but I’m accessing it from Kansas City, Missouri (one of the real underrated cities in the US BTW) without a VPN:
Here’s some of their sports offerings. Since their primary market is currently Europe they’re using decimal odds here.
More about Rivalry.com forthcoming. They were actually one of the first few books to show up on the AGCO’s licensee list along with PointsBet and theScore Bet.
ROYAL PANDA LTD: If you were paying attention during our discussion of LeoVegas in Part 2 you already know that they also own this brand. Royal Panda has become a serious player internationally since their 2014 launch. LeoVegas acquired them in 2017. They already offer ‘gray market’ wagering throughout Canada and that is unlikely to change after their Ontario launch. To their credit, Ontario’s gaming regulators have made clear that they have no interest in ‘policing’ the rest of the provinces. That shoud be the default policy of any gaming jurisdiction but, unfortunately, it isn’t–particularly in the United States where states don’t understand that their authority should end at their borders. Since they currently offer both casino games and sports betting I’ve got no reason to think they won’t offer both in Ontario. Look for more about Royal Panda in a forthcoming look at what LeoVegas is up to in Ontario. Here’s the current Royal Panda website’s main page:
As well as the main page of their sports betting platform:
RUSH STREET INTERACTIVE: RSI will be launching their BetRivers.com brand for both casino and sports betting:
Read more about their Ontario licensing:
THE SCORE VENTURES (CANADA): As a native born Toronto company, it was a foregone conclusion that theScore Bet would launch in Canada. As you’re no doubt aware, the Score is now owned by US gaming giant Penn National. More about their Ontario plans:
UNIBET ONTARIO: Unibet is owned by Malta based gaming giant Kindred Group. They’re huge in Europe and own a total of nine sports betting/casino brands including 32 Red. If you’re a fan of the English Premier League you’ve probably seen the 32 Red logo–at various points in the past few years they’ve sponsored Leeds United, Aston Villa, Derby County, Preston North End and Middlesbrough. Unibet is also a well established European brand and the marquee that Kindred has chosen for their North American expansion. They’ve served Canada for awhile and will continue to do so after migrating all Ontario based customers to their newly regulated site. In the US, they have online and/or retail service in New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Iowa and Arizona. This screenshot from the Unibet website should give you some idea of the company’s international reach:
VHL ONTARIO LIMITED: You might not recognize the licensee name but you’ve no doubt heard of the 888 brand. They’ll be offering sports betting, iGaming and poker in Ontario.
We talked about the following licensees in Part 1 of this series:
We talked about the following licensees in Part 2 of this series: