• Bookies
  • News
  • In Ontario, How Big Could Hockey Betting Become?
Most Valuable Offer

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

Visit site
Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.

In Ontario, How Big Could Hockey Betting Become?

Mark Keast for Bookies.com

Mark Keast  | 4 mins

In Ontario, How Big Could Hockey Betting Become?

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

Visit site
Used 76 Times Today
Popular in Virginia
Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.

It might seem like a grasp of the obvious, when talking about sports betting in Canada and hockey, but those behind PROLINE+, the only legal online sportsbook for Ontario sports betting, and private operators applying for licenses in Ontario now, know full well how mammoth a betting audience Canada’s national game will attract.

The NHL season launches Tuesday, with the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning facing the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Toronto Maple Leafs open at home the following night against the Montreal Canadiens. And the Ottawa Senators open at home against those same Leafs on Thursday night.

RELATED: 2022 Stanley Cup Odds For All 7 Canadian NHL Teams

The Leafs-Habs game will have particular interest with sportsbooks, after the Habs unceremoniously dumped the favored Leafs out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring. Emotions will be running high in this one.

The Maple Leafs have the best NHL odds to win Stanley Cup betting at +1100 on FanDuel Sportsbook , while the Canadiens are +5000 at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Senators are +20000 at DraftKings.

Up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets if Your First Bet Loses
Promo Code: BOOKIES

Visit site
Used 44 Times Today
Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (CO, DC, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY) Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY). Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-327-5050 (MA), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Visit BetMGM.com for T&Cs. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

Betting With Emotion

“Emotion” is an interesting factor since that will drive a lot of NHL sports betting, said Rhea Jankowski, director of digital sports marketing and operations for Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., which runs PROLINE+.

Bettors tend to go for the home teams they are most passionate about. Single events make up the majority of PROLINE+ wagers, she added. So the Leafs’ success this season will very much drive NHL wagering on betting apps. Jankowski predicts it will be a solid No. 2 in action behind the behemoth NFL.

According to Jankowski, Ontarians are betting on the Leafs, with 28% of all wagers to win the Stanley Cup are on the blue and white. The New York Islanders are second with 19% of all wagers and the Senators have 4%. Last year’s finalist, the Canadiens, have just 1.66% of all bets.

The Russian KHL and MHL leagues are the second and third most popular hockey leagues among PROLINE+ players. Since their end-of-August official launch, PROLINE+ has accepted 3.45 million bets overall.

Bet $5, Get $200 in Bonus Bets If Your Bet Wins

Visit site
Used 41 Times Today
Must be 21+ to participate. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit FanDuel.com/RG (CO, IA, KY, MI, NJ, OH, PA, IL, TN, VA, VT), 1-800-NEXT-STEP or text NEXTSTEP to 53342 (AZ), 1-888-789-7777 or visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 or visit ksgamblinghelp.com (KS), 1-877-770-STOP (LA), visit www.mdgamblinghelp.org (MD), 1-800-522-4700 (WY), or visit www.1800gambler.net (WV). GamblingHelpLineMA.org or call (800) 327-5050 for 24/7 support (MA). Call 1-877-8HOPE-NY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY).

NFL Still Betting Favorite

NFL games have seen 34% of the wagers (football gets 45% of all wagers). Baseball comes in second with 30% of all wagers, and soccer attracts 18% (English Premier League, MLS and UEFA Champions League are the most popular soccer leagues on PROLINE+).

Nic Sulsky, chief commercial officer for PointsBet’s new Canadian operation, said hockey obviously will have a bigger audience among sports bettors in Canada than it has in the U.S. market, but he’s also quick to add they don’t want to underestimate the love Canadians have for all sports. That’s especially true for sports involving Canadians.

“The more interesting question may be whether sports like curling, that has almost no popularity in America, will have an impact on how the market shakes out north of the 49,” Sulsky adds.

One source on the private operators' side said they were optimistically hoping to be licensed and taking NFL betting wagers in Ontario by the Super Bowl on Feb. 13. By then the NHL will be well into its second half.

So stay tuned. As the regulated sports betting industry in Ontario starts to take shape more, it will be interesting to see just how big a bite hockey, especially the NHL, takes out of the betting apple.

Bet $5, Get $150 In Bonus Bets Instantly + No Sweat NBA SGP Every Day Of The Playoffs

Visit site
Used 54 Times Today
Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.

About the Author

Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.