Sports betting in Canada officially expands as Ontario launches iGaming market

Courtesy" AP Photo/Matt Slocum

After much anticipation, the Ontario sports betting market is officially live as Canada sports betting expansion got off and running on Monday morning. Suddenly, bettors have a wide range of sportsbook options to choose from in the country’s most populous province.

Naturally, there are still plenty of questions and unknowns, but that’s where we come in. We recently delved into what Ontarians should expect from the significant sportsbook expansion in the province and now that the big launch date is finally here, let’s revisit the new Ontario sports betting landscape and catch up on what this means for the future of betting in Canada.

what changes as Ontario sportsbook apps launch?

The most impactful difference in the Ontario sports betting market beginning today can be summed up in one word – choices. Effective immediately, Ontario residents will have an increasingly expanded array of legal, regulated sports betting options. Among them are the following:

There are several other licensed operators already live in Ontario, with several more waiting in the wings to offer betting services once their products are set for launch.

Up to this point, those in the province wishing to place single-game sports wagers had to either go to individual bookies, unregulated offshore betting sites such as Bodog, or the provincially-run ProLine+ product that debuted in August 2021.

The collection of well-established commercial sportsbooks that will be entering the Ontario market promise to bring a much richer, multi-faceted sports betting experience to residents.

Not only do these operators (PointsBet among them) have invaluable experience in the growing U.S. betting market and elsewhere, but a vast amount of resources that help ensure a cutting-edge product as well.

“The private operators who are coming into the Ontario market and getting licensed…a majority of those operators have products that have features and elements to them that are a little bit more technology or innovation first,” PointsBet Canada Chief Commercial Officer Nic Sulsky told 3DownNation.

In other words, commercial operators already have devised, through experience in other successful regulated markets, a well-calibrated roadmap to effectively matching their offerings with what the betting public wants. This includes an extensive array of betting markets, bet types, promotions, bonuses, and just as important, highly competitive odds.

“I think that OLG is an incredible business. ProLine is a great product, but I think that we’re going to be able to offer more markets and more features and better pricing than potentially some of those other provincially-run operators have been able to offer in the past,” Sulsky explained.

As a result, the success curve could be short and quick for commercial operators as they integrate into the Ontario market. At the onset, sites such as PointsBet, Caesars, BetMGM, FanDuel, and BetRivers are among the operators already open for business.

The multitude of options also lets bettors shop around for lines, a major part of sports betting strategy that hasn’t been able to be effectively applied with regulated sportsbooks in Ontario due to the betting landscape.

What new Ontario sportsbooks have that Bodog and ProLine+ are missing

Ontario residents curious about what the province’s new regulated multi-operator market will mean for them can turn to their neighbor to the south for a more tangible idea.

Since the United States’ regulated betting market was initiated in 2018, 30 states have legalized and gone live. Ontario bettors can turn to thriving sports betting markets in Michigan, New York, or New Jersey as examples of what the potential and makeup of the landscape in their province might eventually evolve into.

One of the most appealing aspects of jurisdiction being open to competition among commercial sportsbooks is the benefits that are created for the consumer.

With so many active and prospective bettors to vie for, Ontario sportsbook apps will have to embrace incentivizing those consumers with generous promotional offers and a highly competitive product in every sense. This means that the following can potentially be on the table as benefits:

  • Welcome Offers
  • Referral Bonuses
  • Free Bets
  • Profit/Odds Boosts
  • Bet/Parlay Insurance
  • Reload bonuses
  • Bet & Get Deals

In addition to the financial rewards, the technology infrastructure these commercial sportsbooks offer is another huge plus.

The entire hands-on experience, including what are usually very user-friendly interfaces through which to review and place bets, is another valuable aspect of doing business with these reputable sportsbooks.

Commercial sportsbooks also know the value of reliable and easily accessible customer service. Each operator typically has a comprehensive, well-trained support staff prepared to promptly address any needs or concerns.

Unregulated betting sites typically compete fairly well with regulated commercial sportsbooks in terms of betting markets, though there are far fewer props. Nevertheless, the odds and customer promotions lag notably behind when compared side by side. That’s especially true for repeat customers.

Meanwhile, as a government-run platform, ProLine+ serves as a solid facsimile of a regulated sportsbook on the surface. However, it lacks depth in terms of betting markets, bet types, and yes, those coveted promotional offers and bonuses.

In contrast, commercial sportsbooks will pay generously to initially acquire your business, and once that’s been accomplished, to ensure it stays with them.

Staggered launch for private operators in Ontario

The new Ontario market will keep sports bettors on their toes for some time, as not all operators are ready to go on day one. That means there should be a steady stream of new sportsbooks entering the area in the days and weeks to come.

The good news is that several big names including BetMGM, PointsBet, BetRivers, FanDuel, and Caesars are among the operators that are live and already accepting wagers as of Monday.

Additionally, Ontario residents shouldn’t have to wait too much longer before other industry heavyweights initiate their highly successful sportsbook operations and begin rewarding bettors with competitive offers as they look to make up ground in the market.