Last Updated Mar 08, 2022, 10:31 AM

888 Receives a License for Ontario Sports Betting

US Sportsbooks · Bonus Codes · Betting News · Special Update

Ontario sports betting is set to launch in a month on April 4th. With that news, an additional sportsbook operator has thrown its hat into the Ontario sports betting market arena. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has issued an iGaming license to the 888 Holdings company. The company has in turn indicated that it will be ready to launch not only with sports betting but with its online casino and poker on April 4th in Ontario.

The CEO of 888 Holdings, Itai Pazner, indicated that the company is very excited about the news of the license awarding by the AGCO. Pazner also stated that the company is looking forward to its launch in the Ontario sports betting market when it opens. The company’s focus, according to Pazner, will be on making their presence stronger and offering customers their services across key regulated sports betting markets.

Pazner feels that the Ontario sports betting market is an attractive opportunity for long-term growth for 888 Holdings as well as an important milestone for their strategies.

Back in August 2021, single-event sports betting become available across Canada as regulated by individual provinces. This was offered in Ontario through an expanded Ontario Lottery and Gaming product known as ProLine+. However, it was then up to regulators to figure out the foundation of sports betting in the province before opening it to commercial operators this coming April.

Ontario became the first jurisdiction in Canada to announce its opening beyond lotteries in the provinces, to commercial operators. However, the commercial operator launch for Ontario sports betting has not been without its controversies.

Great Canadian Gaming, the largest casino operator in Ontario, tried to delay the market. In addition, opposition to the Ontario sports betting market from Indigenous nations has also been mounting.

Three other commercial sportsbook operators had already received approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario last month. They are: PointsBet, theScore Bet, and Rivalry Corp. 

Ontario currently has around fifteen million residents, which makes it a very attractive market to prospective sportsbook operators. This population would make Ontario the fifth largest state in the United States, for comparison.

NorthStar Gaming announced a partnership with the Toronto Star recently as well as the name of its sportsbook, which is NorthStar Bets. Two market leaders from the United States, DraftKings and FanDuel, are expected to launch in the Ontario sports betting market too. However, their executives are hesitant to make any bold earning projections.

In the earnings call for Q4, the CEO of DraftKings, Jason Robins, stated that the market share forecast for Ontario is not as bullish as it is in the states in the U.S.

888 Holdings currently has licenses in 19 regulated markets, which gives it access to seven states in the U.S. In the Colorado sports betting market, 888 Holdings currently operates as SI Sportsbook.

But, the company has not been without its own share of controversies. Their plans for U.S. expansion could be impacted by a fine from the UK Gambling Commission to the tune of $12.5 million. 888 was also fined by the same commission in 2017 for $10.4 million.

If this happens to the company again, the operator’s license could be at serious risk of being revoked, according to industry experts. A license revocation would create a big problem for regulators stateside, most likely.

Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.

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