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BC Hits Sports Betting Milestone, Paving Path for More Sportsbooks

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in Sports Betting News

Nov 3, 2021 · 10:56 AM PDT

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  • Two months since launching, single sports betting has generated $25 million in wagers across BC
  • NFL games are proving to be the most popular form of wagering
  • Single-sports betting was officially launched across Canada on August 27

Ever since rolling out legal and regulated single-game sports betting in BC, the province has been rolling in the money. Canada launched legalized single-game sports wagering across the country on August 27, and BC bettors were quick to queue up and get in on the action.

They’ve wagered more than $25 million across the province during the first two months of single-game sports betting.

“This is a significant milestone for BCLC that demonstrates further how PlayNow.com is well positioned to provide highly entertaining and engaging sports betting in a safe and secure environment,” Lynda Cavanaugh, BCLC’s interim president and CEO, said in a statement.

“It’s important for players to know that playing with BCLC supports the success of British Columbia, as PlayNow.com is the only legal gambling website .”

Might that change? Will the sudden and impactful success of BC sports betting lead to expansion of sports betting opportunities in the province? Will they move toward inclusion of privately-owned sports betting sites?

Across Canada, Ontario sports betting officials are planning on opening the doors to independent online sportsbooks beyond the government-run betting site. Currently, Ontario is the only Canadian province that is confirming it will be following this blueprint.

What Does this Mean for Sports Betting in BC?

Certainly, BC would prove to be an attractive market to outside betting interests. BC is the third-most populous province. Only Ontario (14 million) and Quebec (8 millon) have more people than the 5 million residing in BC.

And it would appear that those people sure like to bet on sports.

Far and away the NFL is proving to be the favourite wagering option among BC bettors. Wagering on the NFL was showing an increase of 97% over the first seven weeks of the 2021 NFL season compared to the same time frame during 2020. At that time, BC bettors could only make parlay wagers on NFL games.

Even in Canada, Tom Brady is kind of a big deal. The most wagered-on game of the season was Brady’s return to New England in Week 4. The Patriots played host to the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This game drew 69% of bets and 80% of handle from single-game sport wagering that week.

Through the first 19 days of the season, NHL betting was also showing an uptick of 71% in BC.

That BC would be an instant Canada sports betting success isn’t all that surprising. Other provinces were playing catch up to meet the demands of Canada’s changing sports betting landscape. However, BC’s PlayNow online platform has been in place since 2012.

The original software was provided by UK sports betting giant Paddy Power. It required only minor tweaks to be upgraded to permit single-game sports betting. PlayNow includes a mobile app that is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

Online Sportsbooks Preparing for Canadian Launch

Expectations are that Ontario will be allowing the entry of privately-run sportsbooks before the end of the year. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, PointsBet, and BetRivers are all lining up. They’re awaiting the green light for the go ahead. Penn National Gaming recently bought interest in theScore Bet. They’re looking to partner with them in Canada as they have with Barstool Sportsbook in the US.

Most, if not all, of these major sportsbooks would be jumping at the chance to enter the BC sports betting market.

Industry insiders believe that BC’s original plan with Canada sports betting in terms of single-game sports was to go it alone with PlayNow. They want to keep 100% of the revenue in government coffers. However, now that these government officials are seeing just how lucrative the market is for BC sports betting, might there be more more of an inclination to throw it wide open?

It will be interesting watching how BC sports betting progresses over these next few months.

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