PointsBet Receives Ontario Sports Betting License To Launch April 4
David Caraviello | 4 mins
It's go-time: PointsBet Ontario is officially in position to go live in less than two months.
The online sports betting platform’s nascent Canadian division received a huge boost Thursday when it was approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as a licensed sportsbook in Canada’s most populous province. PointsBet’s license will be effective April 4 in Ontario, a province of 14.5 million people that includes Canada’s capital of Ottawa and largest city of Toronto, where PointsBet Canada is based.
“Since day one, we have remained genuine to our promise of building a Canadian sportsbook, with Canadian employees, for the Canadian market,” said Scott Vanderwel, CEO of PointsBet Canada. The license approval “is a momentous step in unveiling our authentically Canadian gaming experience to the province. In just 60 days, PointsBet Canada's unmatched speed and ease of use, unrivaled in-game betting capabilities, and unique local partnerships will bring Ontario sports fans a new, responsible, and dynamic form of sports betting and entertainment."
PointsBet Putting down Canadian roots
Online sportsbooks have been clamoring for entry into the coveted Ontario sports betting market ever since the provincial government decided to open its sports betting market to commercial operators. That followed the federal government’s move in August of 2021 to allow single-game sports wagering, changing the landscape of a betting market that had previously been limited only to multi-game parlays.
Individual provinces are handling the Canadian sports betting changeover through their respective lottery systems, which had also overseen online sports betting. As the country’s most populous province, Ontario took the lead in vetting commercial vendors, many of which established Canadian offices and struck sponsorship deals with Canadian corporations to put down roots in the Great White North.
PointsBet was no exception. The company has had a partnership with the NHL since 2021. In January, PointsBet Canada added a partnership with the NHL Alumni Association. Last year, PointsBet Canada became the official sports betting partner of Curling Canada, the nation’s sanctioning body for curling. It’s “important for PointsBet Canada to partner with organizations deeply rooted in our nation’s identity,” Vanderwel said at the time.
And just days ago, the online bookmaker announced a multiyear partnership with Alpine Canada Alpin, the governing body for alpine, para-alpine, and ski cross racing in Canada. “I cannot wait to cheer on the 21 skiers nominated to represent Canada at the Beijing 2022 Olympics and beyond,” PointsBet chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky said when the deal was announced, “just like I did when the Canadian Cowboys were dominating the World Cup circuit."
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Australia, the U.S., and beyond
It’s all part of a steady rise for PointsBet, which was founded in Australia in 2015, launched in the United States in January of 2019, and in 2020 became a partner with NBC Sports. And soon, it will take its first legal sports bets in Canada.
“We are proud to be one of the first iGaming operators regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario,” said Chantal Cipriano, VP of legal, compliance and people at PointsBet Canada. “It demonstrates the confidence that regulators have in our ability to deliver an innovative, safe, and responsible experience to Ontario consumers. We look forward to applying our expertise from Australia and the United States to help build a trusted, competitive, regulated iGaming market in Ontario, establishing an important foundation for our nation."
Other Operators Expected To Follow
Later on Thursday an announcement was made that theScore Bet also received AGCO approval, joining PointsBet Ontario among the first to receive approval in the province.
“We’re thrilled to be one of the first operators to receive an internet gaming operator certificate of registration from the AGCO as we prepare for Ontario’s new regulated market,” John Levy, CEO of theScore, said in a release. “We’ve been and will continue to be at the forefront as regulated internet gaming is introduced in Ontario and are beyond excited to be able to bring theScore Bet to our home market on April 4. Finally, the countdown to launch has begun.”