New York launch bolsters Ontario, Booker makes an enemy

Every Thursday, Sports Handle will recap all the top Canadian sports betting news, highlight the game of the week and take a look at some of the most intriguing Canadian games to bet on over the weekend.

Our top Canadian sports stories this week

Game of the week

Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat – January 17

Raptors fans have had this date circled on their calendars since August, when beloved point guard Kyle Lowry joined the Heat in a sign-and-trade deal. Lowry, who spent nine memorable seasons in Toronto and is arguably the Raptors’ greatest player of all time, will face his former team for the first time since arriving in South Beach.

He holds the franchise’s all-time records in a number of major statistical categories, including total assists, steals, 3-pointers made and triple-doubles, while also ranking second in points, matches played and minutes played. He was also instrumental in leading the Raptors to their first NBA title in 2019.

Monday will be an emotional night for Lowry and the Raptors, even if the game is in Miami. The Heat are scheduled to play in Toronto on February 1, but it’s unclear if fans will be allowed back into the stands for Lowry’s highly anticipated return to Canada. The Ontario government has implemented strict COVID capacity measures at sporting events in Canada until at least January 26, but these measures may be extended.

Odds are not yet available for this game, but both teams have some interesting betting trends this year. Toronto is 23-15 over/under, while Miami is 25-16 and 24-17 ATS heading into Thursday action.

Ontario’s reaction to the launch of online betting in New York

Online sports betting launched Saturday morning in New York State, with four major operators – FanDuel, BetRivers, Caesars and DraftKings – getting the green light to open. There were approximately 17.2 million bets placed as of midnight Sunday in the state, with nearly 50% of those bets coming from New York’s five boroughs.

The staggering numbers are attracting the attention of key players in Ontario’s sports betting industry, which is expected to open to private operators in February or March, industry sources say.

“I think it’s fair to say that when the market opens, Ontario will show a similar passion for sports betting as New York did last weekend,” said Nick Sulsky, chief commercial officer of PointsBet Canada. Sports handle. “Our proud sports fans are equally excited about safe and legal gambling options.”

Canadians tuning in to the final week of the NFL regular season this past weekend were bombarded with unprecedented levels of sports betting commercials at the New York market launch. It was a running joke south of the border.

“I think Ontarians are seeing a small cross section, through some TV ads on [Buffalo stations’] weekend sports programming, the choice that will be available to sports bettors when Ontario’s online marketplace opens,” said Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns. Sports handle. “Ontario sports bettors will have a lot more choice than those in New York State. This only heightens the anticipation of what is to come in Ontario.

Dozens of private operators are expected to enter the Ontario sports betting market and compete with the approval of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario. With a population of approximately 15 million, the Ontario market could generate almost $1 billion in sports betting revenue in the first year after the market opens. Currently, Canadian bettors can only legally bet with provincially run lotteries and sportsbooks, such as PROLINE+ in Ontario.

Manitoba Sports Betting Projections Discussed

The Manitoba Legislative Assembly met virtually on Tuesday to discuss the findings of the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL) Annual Report for the fiscal year ending March 2021. The President and CEO of the MBLL, Manny Atwal, quickly spoke about iGaming and sports betting revenue projections, saying the company expects revenue of $50-60 million in the fiscal year alone from its global online gaming platform PlayNow.com.

He estimates that sports betting is only 2% or 3% of that total iGaming projection of $50-60 million. However, Atwal says sports betting is a great acquisition tool for the company, as around 90% of sports bettors on PlayNow also play casino games on the site. PlayNow is the only legal online sports betting site in Manitoba. Sports bettors can also bet at Sport Select outlets across the province.

Atwal predicts that the overall iGaming market in Manitoba is worth between $75 million and $150 million, but says PlayNow’s biggest problem is winning back customers from illegal sites. It encourages greater brand awareness.

“PlayNow.com is safe, it’s legal, it ensures your money is safe and you receive the winnings you are entitled to. The money stays in Manitoba,” Atwal noted. Manitobans know more about it.

MBLL has not announced any plans to allow private sports betting operators to enter the Manitoba market.

NorthStar Gaming partners with Playtech

On Tuesday, NorthStar Gaming announced a new partnership with Playtech, one of the world’s leading gaming technology companies.

This will allow NorthStar Gaming to launch Playtech’s IMS platform for casinos, live casinos, poker, iGaming and sports betting after securing regulatory approvals with the Province of Ontario. NorthStar is based in Toronto and launched as an online betting brand in March 2021 after partnering with Torstar Corp., a mass media company that owns Canada’s largest print newspaper, the Toronto Star.

NorthStar Gaming “believes its Canadian-owned gaming business will lead the industry, operate at the highest level of responsible gaming standards, and ensure that more of our local players’ entertainment dollars stay in the province,” as listed on the company’s LinkedIn page.

Ontario, which released final regulatory standards for iGaming, sports and event betting in October, is preparing to open the province to private competition in the first quarter of 2022. For now , sports bettors can only legally bet with provincially run lotteries.

Playtech, founded in 1999, is listed on the London Stock Exchange and powers the technology behind European online bookmakers Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. It also owns and operates Snaitech, Italy’s leading online gaming company.

Booker vs. the Raptor

Basketball games are weird in Ontario right now as local COVID-19 restrictions have forced the Toronto Raptors to play without any fans in the stands. But one spotter – the Raptors’ mascot – is trying to catch up to nearly 20,000 screaming fans single-handedly. On Tuesday night, the mascot known as ‘The Raptor’ got under the skin of Phoenix Suns goaltender Devin Booker, jumping and waving frantically behind the net, with the game on the line at the end of the fourth. quarter.

At the time, the Suns, who were favored by four to six points depending on where you were shopping in Canada, were up one point with less than seven seconds left. Booker, who shoots an impressive 87% from the line this year, hit both free throw attempts but forced officials to banish the mascot to the corner of the field, out of sight after the first attempt. The Suns won the game by four points.

Toronto spread bettors surely loved the Raptors mascot’s antics, despite his failure to make an impact on Booker’s shooting. It’s a good thing Booker is playing in the modern era, because there were far bigger distractions for free throw shooters in 1989. Just ask Larry Bird.

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