When the Canadian government officially pushed the button to launch legal and regulated single-game sports wagering, Ontario bettors rejoiced. Their time was finally arriving.
Expectations were that the expansion of sports betting across Canada’s most populated province would be fast-tracked. There was speculation that everything would be in place in time for the CFL’s Grey Cup game.
Today, it appears doubtful that any privately-run sportsbooks will be licensed in time to offer legal and regulated single-game sports betting by Super Bowl Sunday in 2022.
This isn’t sitting well with the major players in the sports betting industry, who’ve been prepping for an Ontario launch since legalization was announced last summer.
Offshore operators that continue to offer unregulated sports betting in the province are flourishing. Some are even doing advertising deals with Canadian pro sports teams and leagues. Meanwhile, those who are abiding by the rules wait at the starting gates, with no indication as to when the green light will be given to become legally recognized online Canada sportsbooks.
Why Is There A Delay With Ontario Sports Betting?
Some privately-owned sportsbooks are laying the blame for the delay at the feet of Ontario government officials. While quick to get their own PROLINE+ online sports betting product launched, they’ve been dragging their feet at getting competitors licensed to operate in the province.
“[They] have made things very difficult for us,” Chantal Cipriano, Vice President, Legal, Compliance & People for PointsBet Canada, told WagersUSA.
Internet Gaming Ontario and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario are the two regulatory bodies that are going to be overseeing Ontario sports betting. And they really aren’t offering any indication as to when the welcome mat to privately-owned sportsbooks will be rolling out in the province.
Expectations are the launch date will arrive sometime in early 2022. When? Your guess is as good as even those who are inside of the industry.
“I have no real timelines into when in (the first quarter of 2022) it will be,” Paul Burns, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, told the Toronto Star.
Frustrated sports bettors are spinning conspiracy theories about the government wanting to hold on to people betting at their sites in order to keep all the money under the control of government coffers. Burns, though, says the delays are being caused by an overwhelming desire among government officials to ensure that the launch comes off without any major glitches.
“Everyone wants to get it right rather than meet an arbitrary deadline,” Burns said. “Operators don’t want to create a customer experience that’s not the best one.”
What Online Sportsbooks are Expected to Launch in Canada?
All of the major players in the online sports betting industry are anxiously awaiting the chance to sink their teeth into the Ontario market. Considering the success of New Jersey sports betting, which is rivaling numbers posted in gambling hotbed Nevada, the movers and shakers in the industry see similar potential for Ontario. With 14 million residents, Ontario’s population is almost identical in number to that of New Jersey.
At the recent Sports Betting Community Summit North America, held from November 30 to December 2 in New Jersey, many online sports betting leaders were discussing the potential that Canada, and specifically Ontario, will have plenty of sports betting offers.
Best Sports Betting Apps Coming to Canada
|Sportsbook Apps To Launch in Canada||Expected Province Approval||Launch Date|
|FanDuel Sportsbook Canada||ON, QC, BC||Q1 2022|
|DraftKings Sportsbook Canada||ON, QC, BC||Q1 2022|
|BetMGM Canada||ON, QC, BC||Q1 2022|
|Caesars Sportsbook Canada||ON, QC, BC||Q1 2022|
|PointsBet Canada||ON, QC, BC||Q1 2022|
|Hard Rock Canada||ON, QC, BC||Q1 2022|
|theScore Bet Canada (Penn National)||ON, QC, BC||Q1 2022|
|BetRivers Canada (RSI)||ON, QC, BC||Q1 2022|
“We want to be ready before day one,” Rush Street Interactive CEO Richard Schwartz said of plans to launch their BetRivers product in Ontario.
Also waiting to enter the Ontario market are major sports betting presences such as BetMGM, DraftKings, Caesars, Hard Rock, FanDuel and Penn National (in partnership with theScore Bet).