Sports Betting Expert
Canada’s most populated province broke new ground in the country’s legal sports betting industry. On April 4, Ontario became the first province to offer legal sports betting and iGaming through commercial operators.
Prior to this historic expansion, all forms of legal online sports betting and iGaming in Canada were controlled by government-owned lottery corporations at the provincial level. For example, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) offered PROLINE + as its online betting platform.
Major US players such as FanDuel and BetMGM were quick to take advantage of the opportunity in Ontario. This was viewed as part of their expansion plans into the broader North American sports betting industry. DraftKings got a late start to the party but the second-biggest US sportsbook operator can be added to the list.
All told, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has issued 30 internet gaming operator licenses as part of these expansion plans. These 30 are in addition to OLG as the original operator in the market.
When it comes to the early market leaders, one company has gained the clear inside edge. Based in Toronto, theScore grew into a highly popular sports media company among Canadian sports fans. In 2021, theScore was acquired by Penn National Gaming for $2 billion in US dollars.
This equity partnership led to the formation of theScore Bet as a mobile sportsbook and iGaming app. Using the edge in brand recognition, theScore Bet app has led the way with 35% of the app-download share in Canada since April 4.
According to a recent industry report released by Morgan Stanley, bet365 was second on that list with a 27% share. Behind the UK’s Flutter Entertainment as its parent company, FanDuel held the third spot on that list at 16%.
The first Nevada-based casino gaming and entertainment giant in the rankings was MGM Resorts International. The BetMGM mobile sportsbook and iGaming app was fourth at 9%.
Farther down the list were Betway (4%), PointsBet (3%) and BetRivers (2%). The trio of Caesars Sportsbook, 888 and LeoVegas each recorded 1% of the app-download share in Canada.
The early lead for theScore Bet may not hold up. While this app commanded 65% share on April 4, that percentage has declined dramatically as the month of April wore on. The addition of even more licensed operators in the coming weeks and months is sure to splinter the market even more.
Taken as a quote from the Morgan Stanley report was the following insight:
“Given that not all major US operators are live in the Ontario market yet (for example DraftKings), we expect to see further share shifts over the coming months. However, taking first mover advantage has proven a successful strategy in most US markets so an early lead is a positive read-through for the top 5 operators which account for 92% of April (month-to-date) downloads.”
Written by Dave Schwab, our US sports betting industry expert.
The featured image for this post was sourced on Getty Images.