Many sports to bet on when the Ontario market opens on April 4

Amanda Brewer is not sleeping while waiting for Ontario to launch its online sports betting and gaming market. The national director of Canadian operations for the Kindred Group has other problems occupying her time in preparation for the start of a highly competitive industry on April 4. But she’s glad it’s finally here.

“It’s the culmination of a decade of lawsuits to convince a province to do exactly what Ontario is doing now,” Brewer said this week. “I’m excited to see what everyone has to offer next month.”

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) this week confirmed the registration of three more companies – including two that represent 888 sport and the World Series of Poker owned by Caesars Entertainment – ​​joining PointsBet, Rivalry and theScore. FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Unibet and BetRivers are some of the well-known sportsbooks that should also be regulated. Another 24 companies have signed up as suppliers and more than 450 games have already been certified for use in Ontario.

“We are encouraged to see so much interest from companies looking to enter Ontario’s new online gaming market,” said Brent McCurdy, AGCO’s deputy general manager, in a statement. “We still have over a month to go and the AGCO team is working hard to support the successful launch of Ontario’s regulated online gambling market over the coming months. »

When the federal government approved Bill C-218 last August to legalize single-event betting, Ontario was originally scheduled to unveil its free market in early December and then before the Super Bowl and Olympics in winter of last month. Instead, the scheduled opening day is Championship Monday for the NCAA March Madness Men’s Basketball Tournament, along with the Masters and the World Men’s Curling Championship (ironically, taking place in the mecca of the North American gaming scene, Las Vegas) also on the sports file. . Bettors hoping to bet legally on the Blue Jays this first week will almost certainly have to wait while Major League Baseball owners and players seek a resolution to their labor dispute.

“You wouldn’t have placed a pin on April 4, but once you look at the date, we see a lot of opportunities to be in front of Canadian sports fans,” said PointsBet Canada CEO Scott Vanderwel. , whose sponsorship partners include Curling Canada. “We’re really hoping for a home opener for the Blue Jays, and we’re in the middle of the men’s curling world.

“There are a variety of places to celebrate the launch.”

This will include the start of the NBA playoffs in mid-April, the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs in early May, as well as the semi-finals and finals of the Champions League, the PGA Championship, the tennis tournament of Roland-Garros and the start of the WNBA regular season. . John Levy, Founder and CEO of theScore, said the wait will be worth it for everyone involved in the betting game.

“On my list of things to fear, the date is at the bottom,” Levy said. “(Sports betting) is going to be here for a long time. Football season will be here before you know it, and there will be a Super Bowl next year and the year after that.

Brewer added: “You don’t have to have the biggest billboard in Yonge and Dundas on April 4th. This is the beginning of a market that will last for a long time.

Sports fans and bettors in Ontario can expect an avalanche of information, from the types of bets available to advertising, sponsorships, media and responsible gaming education. NorthStar Gaming last week unveiled NorthStar Bets as an online casino and sportsbook brand, and an advertising and marketing agreement with Torstar Corporation that will include sportsbook content on thestar.com. FansUnite Entertainment, a Vancouver-based technology company, is awaiting approval of its vendor application.

“We feel like people are excited, and we know the big operators are excited,” FansUnite CEO Scott Burton said, pointing to what is being called the fifth-largest territory for sports betting and games in North America.

As new sportsbooks fear competing with unlicensed operators who have been dealing with Canadian punters for decades, the head of the Canadian Gaming Association says the gray market will disappear.

“It will be black and white,” said Paul Burns. “It’s either legal or illegal.”

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