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Privately-Run Ontario Sportsbooks Won’t Be Able to Advertise Promos

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in Sports Betting News

Mar 4, 2022 · 4:40 PM PST

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Feb 10, 2022; Washington, DC, USA; The new BetMGM Sportsbook at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Prince Grimes-USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Sportsbooks in Ontario won’t be permitted to advertise signup promos
  • While they can offer signup bonuses to players, they won’t be able to use them in any manner to promote sites
  • Traditionally, signup bonus offers are a key method sports betting sites utilize to lure new customers

Ontario is hyping the impending April 4, 2022 launch of privately-run sportsbooks. However, perhaps you’ve noticed that there’s been no mentioning of the tendering of any signup offers for new players.

There’s a reason for that.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and iGaming Ontario, regulators of the industry in the province, aren’t permitting promotion of this staple of the online sports betting industry.

In the competitive world of online sports betting, sportsbooks usually dangle signup bonuses to get new players to sign up at their sites. These generally include such offers as risk-free first bets of matching first deposits.

Paul Burns, President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, explained how the signup bonus process is going to work for Ontario sports betting sites.

“You can put them on your website, you can offer them to players in your database,” Burns said of signup promos. “You just can’t be putting them in your in your advertising.”

This prohibition will also apply to any online casinos opening in the province.

“There’s one set of regulatory standards that covers both sports and casino gambling,” Burns said.

Ontario Online Sports Betting Wide Open Otherwise

This development goes completely against the approach that the Ontario government is otherwise taking toward the opening of sports betting in the province. For the most part, their policy appears to be anything goes.

“In terms of eSports, live in-game and live dealer (casino), all that’s permitted,” Burns said. “There’s very little that’s not available. In that way it will be pretty robust.”

In several US jurisdictions, permission for wagering on eSports is still not being granted. As well, there are several states that have yet to legalize online casino gambling. Ontario, though, is going all in on these fronts right off the bat.

“The AGCO in setting the standards, did the right thing by allowing the widest variety of product into the market,” Burns said. “I think that’s going to make it exciting and gives the operators the opportunity to offer a full range of products.”

Other Options For Ontario Sportsbook Promos

It’s going to be more challenging for sportsbooks to get Ontario bettors to sign up. The tried and true standard of signup bonuses aren’t available to dangle in front of prospective new customers. Thus, Canadian sports betting companies will need to get creative to get players joining up at their sites.

“It’s going to be competition based on strong product and not on incentive offers, or just on who’s got the biggest bonus,” Burns said. “It’s going to to be a bit different from what we’ve seen in the United States.”

BetRivers Canada is offering the chance to try out their sportsbook and casino for free with play for fun options. PointsBet Canada has hired Canadian cultural icons the Trailer Park Boys to serve as their brand ambassadors.

BetMGM Canada has named the Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid as their brand ambassador. Announcing of the agreement was happening on Friday. McDavid is the NHL’s reigning Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner.

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