By David Caraviello | | 9 mins
NHL Partners With FanDuel, BetMGM After Ontario Sports Betting Launch
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Just days after the launch of sports betting in Ontario, the NHL named two operators as its first sports betting partners north of the border.
FanDuel Ontario and BetMGM Ontario, both of which expanded into Canada's most populous province when commercial gaming launched on Monday, have struck multiyear partnership deals with the NHL, the hockey league announced Thursday.
The agreements give FanDuel and BetMGM—both of which were already partners with the NHL in the United States—the right to use official NHL branding in both countries, receive custom content across NHL-controlled media channels, and be part of major events through elements such as hospitality gatherings and signage visible to television viewers.
“Canada’s new sports betting landscape presents a tremendous opportunity to further fan engagement and continue our progressive approach with the sports gaming industry,” said Keith Wachtel, NHL chief business officer and senior executive vice president.
“BetMGM and FanDuel were our first sports betting partners in the U.S., and we’re thrilled to expand our partnerships with both of these leaders in the sportsbook and mobile betting marketplace as we begin our transformative entry into this space in Canada and engage our avid Canadian fan base.”
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NHL Betting A Big Deal In Canada
The launch of commercial and mobile sports betting in Ontario on Monday was the result of a 2021 move by the Canadian federal government to legalize single-game betting, changing the landscape of a betting market that had previously been limited only to multigame parlays offered through provincial lottery commissions. As the country’s most populous province, Ontario took the lead in vetting commercial vendors, many of which established Canadian offices or struck sponsorship deals with Canadian organizations to put down roots in the country prior to launch day.
For example, PointsBet ON signed agreements with the sanctioning bodies of Canadian curling and ski racing, the Ottawa RedBlacks of the Canadian Football League, and the NHL Alumni Association. FanDuel and BetMGM are the first Canadian operators to join forces with the NHL, easily the most popular sports league in a nation that views hockey as part of its heritage.
“We are delighted to expand our partnership with the NHL to include all of North America as our business grows into Canada with the launch of the Ontario market,” said Amy Howe, chief executive officer of FanDuel Group. “This partnership has allowed the NHL and FanDuel to collaborate and become true innovators in sports betting with initiatives like the NHL Network's first-ever Odds Ticker and custom NHL betting content for social media.”
Added Adam Greenblatt, chief executive of BetMGM: “Our existing partnership with the NHL accelerated our ability to reach hockey fans and has allowed us to deliver an enhanced hockey wagering product. Expanding our partnership with the NHL throughout North America, aligned with our recent launch in Ontario, puts us in a great position for long-term success in Canada. We’re excited to further our relationship with the NHL including incorporating some of its all-time greats from Wayne Gretzky to Connor McDavid into our brand marketing.”
More Operators Expected In Ontario
FanDuel plans to use the agreement to drive engagement in Ontario by leveraging camera-visible assets across major regular season events as well as the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which open May 2. BetMGM aims to bolster its content and email marketing programs in Canada, while also using the NHL relationship to produce premium experiences and content.
FanDuel and BetMGM are among 28 sportsbook operators that have been licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as of Thursday. That list also includes Caesars Sportsbook ON, PointsBet, BetRivers ON, 888, Unibet, bet365 and theScore, among other lesser-known names.
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