Is Canada Ready For Single-Event Betting Launch on Friday?
Single-game sports betting in Canada makes its official arrival on Friday. It is the product of the approval of Bill C-218 that amended the Canadian Criminal Code to permit single-sports betting.
Earlier this month, August 27 was established as the launch date for single-sports wagering across Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories. However, as that day is nearly upon us, there still seems to be as many questions as there are answers as to how this new style of sports betting will operate. In some instances, it remains uncertain as to whether it will operate at all.
Let’s take a cross-Canada look at sports betting on the eve of this historic moment.
Canada’s most populated province is being looked upon as a potential gravy train by major sportsbooks and Ontario sports betting sites, and just as the provincial government’s slogan suggests, Ontario is open for business when it comes to single sports wagering.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has established iGaming Ontario, which will be charged with overseeing all online and mobile wagering operations that set up shop in Ontario. Their mandate will cover both sports betting and casino sites. It will license and regulate all private entities seeking to establish and iGaming operation in Ontario.
Speculation is that none of the big-name sportsbooks that are eying the province, such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet and Penn National (via theScore Bet), will be operational in Ontario prior to 2022. In the meantime, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) hopes to gain a leg up on the competition. Already the operators of Proline, the parlay lottery-style sports wagering that’s been legal in the province since the 1990s, has said they intend to launch Proline+ on Aug. 27.
Proline+ will enable its players to place a legal bet on a single event from their mobile device, tablet or desktop device for the first time ever in Ontario.
“OLG has been looking forward to offering single event sports wagering to adult Ontarians for many years,” Duncan Hannay, OLG President and CEO said in a statement.
Already with PlayNow.ca, Canada’s first online and mobile sports betting service in place, B.C. sports betting was well positioned to quickly transition to single sports betting once the federal government set a date for Bill C-218 to go into force.
In fact, B.C. operates the only retail sportsbook in Canada, inside the Starlight Casino on New Westminster, B.C.
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) confirmed that single-sports betting will be offered on its PlayNow platform as of Friday, August 27. However, it appears that the government plans to go it alone with sports betting and won’t be offering licenses to private sportsbook operators.
The BCLC conducts and manages commercial gambling – including casinos, lottery, bingo and sports betting – on behalf of the province. British Columbia is Canada's third-largest province by population with more than five million residents.
Earlier this month, BCLC signed a multi-year agreement with sports betting technology and data company Genius Sports. BCLC will utilize Genius Sports’ LiveData and LiveTrading services to deliver real-time official data and pinpoint pricing across thousands of sporting events each year.
Included in the partnership is Genius Sports’ portfolio of official data rights, comprising the Canadian Premier League, English Premier League and Euroleague Basketball, among many other top tier leagues.
Manitoba sports betting piggybacks off of B.C.’s PlayNow platform and will follow suit in terms of their single-sports betting plan. The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation confirmed that bettors across the province will be able to place wagers on the outcome of a single event on PlayNow.com starting on August 27.
Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), the province’s regulatory body, already announced plans to expand their online PlayAlberta site to include single sports betting. They were vague on when that would happen, suggesting only that it would be sometime in 2021. Expectations are that that launch date for Alberta sports betting will be in late fall of 2021.
Alberta is also expected to open up the single-sports betting market to private sportsbook operators and betting apps in 2022.
Loto-Québec announced that single-sports wagering will begin across the province on Aug. 27 through their Mise-o-jeu website. Unlike other provinces, Quebec sports betting has the technology in place to accept wagers through retail sites, as well as online and via mobile devices.
“This move to allow single betting is great news for sports betting fans and Loto-Québec alike,” Louis Beaudet, Loto-Québec’s Director of Sports and Entertainment Betting, said in a statement. “We know that consumers have wanted to bet on the outcome of single games for a long time, and we’re thrilled to be able to give them what they want.”
The provincial government has handed control of the province’s single-sports betting product to the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA), an organization of 74 First Nations tribes across the province. They operate seven casinos in Saskatchewan.
No word has been given by the government or SIGA as to a date when single-sports betting will launch in the province or how it will operate.
Canada’s Maritime provinces regulate all of their gaming operations in conjunction through the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. ALC CEO Chris Keevil has already indicated that it would only require minor technological tweaks to their ALC.ca online gaming site in order to make single sports betting functional. The ALC currently offers Proline parlay betting on sports and it can be played online.
He is just awaiting word to go ahead with that plan from any or all of the country’s Atlantic provinces. None of Canada’s Maritime provincial governments – Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island – have made any public statements regarding single sports betting.