BCLC Inks Genius Sports Data Deal Ahead of Single-Event Betting Launch in Canada

  • The lottery will utilize Genius’s LiveData and LiveTrading services for data and pricing
  • Genius has similar deals with BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, and William Hill
  • Canadian lawmakers passed C-218 in July to enable the legalization of single-event wagering
  • The BCLC has confirmed it is ready to expand betting options on its PlayNow website 
British Columbia and Canada flags
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation has partnered with data supplier Genius Sports as Canada prepares to launch single-event sports betting. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Official data for British Columbia

A bill legalizing single-event sports betting across Canada gained royal assent last month, allowing the country’s provinces to begin planning for a wagering expansion. In preparation for this, provincial gambling operator the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has signed a deal with Genius Sports Group for official betting data.

UK-based data provider Genius Sports confirmed the new agreement in a post to its Twitter page on Tuesday:

According to the company’s statement, the multi-year agreement will see Genius Sports support the BCLC’s sportsbook operations. The operator will utilize Genius’s LiveData and LiveTrading services to offer real-time official data and pricing on thousands of sporting events.

Commenting on Tuesday, Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke said the agreement demonstrates that the Canadian betting industry “recognizes the importance of official data.” He added that the use of such agreements would “help Canada fulfil the massive potential of its sports betting market.”

Another partner for Genius

In its two decades of operation, Genius Sports has signed data deals with a long list of sports organizations and gambling operators. By inking an agreement with the company, the BCLC has joined the likes of BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill, and PointsBet. Most recently, Genius signed a multi-state data partnership with WynnBet in February this year.

Genius Sports has come a long way since its humble beginnings under the name Betgenius. Due in part to its growth, the data provider decided to go public in April this year as part of a $1.5bn special purpose acquisition company merger. Genius now trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols GENI and GENIWS.

The tech firm also maintains long-term partnerships with more than 400 sports organizations, including the NBA, NCAA, and NASCAR. In its announcement of the BCLC deal, Genius specifically noted its data rights agreements with the Canadian Premier League and English Premier League in soccer.

The firm provides data to sportsbooks on more than 240,000 events each year, serving as official data provider to over 150,000 of them. Commenting on the BCLC deal, CEO Locke noted the benefits of this official data for sportsbooks. He said it helps “to protect consumers whilst delivering the most secure and compelling products” for customers.

BCLC will finally get its wish

In June this year, Canadian lawmakers finally legalized single-event sports betting by passing C-218. The legislation will now allow operators across the country to begin offering wagering on single games. Previously, Canadian law only permitted parlay betting which required gamblers to wager on at least three events within one bet.

The BCLC has consistently backed an expansion of Canada’s sports betting market. Speaking earlier this year, the director of eGaming for the BCLC, Stewart Groumoutis, noted that the additional revenue would support programs in provinces across the country.

Canadians wager around CA$500m (US$406m) on legal parlay bets each year

In addition, backers of single-event wagering have argued that previous legislation favored the black market. Canadians spend around CA$500m (US$406m) on legal parlay bets each year, but overall they bet CA$15.5bn (US$11.8bn) annually. This suggests that Canada’s bettors place a substantial majority of wagers illegally.

Now that lawmakers have approved C-218, the BCLC said its gambling website PlayNow is ready to offer single-event wagering on the date the government sets for the law to take effect.

Elsewhere, Ontario is also preparing for the introduction of single-event wagering in Canada. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario released its draft sports betting regulations last week. The body is seeking feedback on the rules before August 18.