Who's Expected To Launch When Ontario Sports Betting Goes Live?
David Caraviello | 4 mins
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It’s home to Canada’s capital, biggest city, and a population base larger than that of any other province north of the border. Ontario sports betting has always loomed as a prized catch for sportsbook operators, who are finally on the cusp of launching in a region populated by nearly 15 million people.
Legalized sports betting in Ontario goes green on April 4, thanks to a change in federal law approved last year by the country’s parliament that allowed betting on single games - a departure from the previous statute that had allowed only parlays available through Canadian provincial lotteries. A bevy of operators are already lined up and ready for Ontario’s launch day, with more to come.
As the country’s most populous province, Ontario has taken the lead in vetting commercial sportsbook operators, many of which established Canadian offices and struck sponsorship deals with Canadian corporations to put down roots in the Great White North. Anchored by Toronto and its 3 million residents, Ontario encompasses almost 40 percent of Canada’s total population. It's going to be the major Canadian sports betting market for operators.
Which Sportsbooks Will Go Live In Ontario On April 4?
As of late March, 16 online sportsbooks had been licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario with an effective start date of April 4. That list includes the Canadian operations of some well-known industry players such as PointsBet, BetMGM Ontario, FanDuel Ontario, Unibet, and Rush Street Interactive’s BetRivers brand.
Other operators approved to go live in Ontario on April 4 are Coolbet, LottoGo, Fitzdares, bet365, LeoVegas, WSOP, Rivalry, Royal Panda, theScore and 888. Licenses are for one or two years in duration with an exception for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which is licensed through 2052.
To legally wager in Ontario, bettors must be at least 19 years old and physically within the borders of the province. As of April 4, bets will be available on sports including hockey, football, basketball, soccer and golf, among others. Wagers such as moneylines, totals, spreads and futures will join parlays among the types of bets that Ontario residents will be able to make.
Who's Expected To Get A License Before Launch?
That list of approved sportsbook operators does not yet include major brands such as DraftKings Ontario, Caesars, Betway and BallyBet, which are expected to receive licenses prior to Ontario’s launch day or soon thereafter.
Caesars Entertainment currently operates a land-based casino in Windsor, Ontario, which is located across the river from Detroit.
RELATED: Why The Toronto Raptors Are A Trendy NBA Futures Pick
What To Bet On At Launch
Hockey is easily the most popular sport in Canada, and NHL betting fans on Ontario’s launch day will have four NHL games to choose from, one including a local team. The Toronto Maple Leafs play at Tampa Bay on April 4, part of a slate that also includes Boston at Columbus, Arizona at St. Louis, and Calgary at Los Angeles.
Those seeking more action will find an expanded slate of 10 games for April 5, when the Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators will both be in action.
Although there are no NBA games scheduled for April 4, NBA betting fans can get a jump on the 12-game schedule set for April 5, which features the Toronto Raptors hosting the Atlanta Hawks. That slate also includes Philadelphia at Indiana, Cleveland at Orlando, Houston at Brooklyn, Charlotte at Miami, Milwaukee at Chicago, Washington at Minnesota, Portland at Oklahoma City, San Antonio at Denver, Memphis at Utah, New Orleans at Sacramento and the Lakers at Phoenix.
Ontario’s launch day will also include the championship game of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, to be played in New Orleans.
Futures wagers should include the following events, to name a few: The Masters golf tournament, which begins April 7, the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (the Jays open the 2022 season at home against the Texas Rangers on April 8) and NASCAR events, beginning with the race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on April 9.