Ontario Online Sports Betting, iGaming Market Launches

  • Ontario’s market opened 12:00am, with several sports betting, casino apps launching
  • These included Bet365, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, FanDuel, PointsBet, and theScore
  • A notable absentee, DraftKings, had not yet received AGCO approval as of Saturday
  • Some Twitter users reported glitches with FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, and Bet365 apps
Fireworks over Toronto cityscape, Canada
A few minutes after midnight in the early hours of Monday morning, PointsBet Canada was one of the first sportsbooks to take a bet as Ontario’s regulated online market launched. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Kids on Christmas Eve

Last night, many Ontarian bettors went to sleep feeling like kids on Christmas Eve. April 4 has long been the date set for the launch of legal online sports betting and iGaming in the province of Ontario, and Monday morning residents could finally place their first wagers.

the market opened at just past midnight

According to PlayOntario.com, the market opened at just past midnight, with “at least seven” online sportsbooks and casinos launching in the early hours of Monday morning. These included Bet365, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, FanDuel, PointsBet, theScore Bet, and the Ontario Lottery Group’s (OLG) own ProLine Sportsbook.

theScore Bet took to Twitter to share the news of its launch:

Other firms have received the necessary approvals and could be next in line for imminent roll-out. These include 888, CoolBet, LeoVegas, Rivalry, Unibet, and Royal Panda. Many brands, such as Bwin, have registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) but have not inked a commercial agreement with iGaming Ontario.

The most notable absentee from the Ontario launch party is DraftKings. According to Legal Sports Report, as of Saturday DraftKings had not yet received AGCO approval.

First bets roll in

One of the first sportsbooks to take a bet in Ontario was PointsBet. On Twitter, the firm’s chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky expressed his pride for the hard work his team put in:

According to an official news release, less than a minute after midnight, PointsBet Canada accepted a CA$500 ($400) two-leg parlay for the University of North Carolina over Kansas in the NCAA championship and the Toronto Maple Leafs to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL.

helps fund a stronger Ontario” 

PointsBet Canada CEO Scott Vanderwel commended Ontario Premier Doug Ford among other high-profile figures upon his sportsbook’s launch. Vanderwel said the gaming framework in the province “allows for necessary competition, continued investment, job creation, and importantly helps fund a stronger Ontario through tax revenue.” 

All systems go… apparently

The launch of the Ontario market is significant because it represents the most populous province in Canada, with a population of around 14.8 million.

However, the launch has proved turbulent for some operators and their customers. A number of Twitter users have reported glitches with newly launched apps. A bettor who goes by the name Chairman Dave cited various issues with FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, and Bet365 via Twitter:

User Aiden Duffy backed up Chairman Dave’s gripes with FanDuel and BetMGM, but singled out theScore Bet as a good alternative, saying its app was “functioning perfectly.”

The Canadian province’s new daily fantasy sports regulations recently caused major players DraftKings and FanDuel to pull out because of high taxes and heavy registration fees.