Last Updated Feb 04, 2022, 9:28 AM

Ontario Expands Legal Sports Betting With Commercial Operators

US Sportsbooks · Bonus Codes · Betting News · Special Update

Sports betting in Canada has been legal for quite some time with one major caveat. Legal sports bets were only allowed on multi-team parlays. Bettors had to group together bets on single games into one overall wager.

That all changed at the end of August this year. New sports betting laws in the country paved the way for single-game wagers.

Canadian provinces already had a lottery system in place for legal online gaming. This made each individual province in charge of instituting this change.

Most of the provinces decided to incorporate single-game sports betting into their current lottery system. In the case of Ontario, this was through PROLINE+ as the province-owned operator.

However, the country’s most populated province also decided to open up the market to commercial sportsbook operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings. That process is underway with expectations of going live by the end of the year.

Ontario is taking the lead on this initiative and this could lead to other provinces following suit. One of the biggest decisions yet to be made is the tax rate on commercial sportsbook revenue.

The actual tax rate on sports betting revenue could have a major impact on which US-based operators decide to expand north of the border.

FanDuel is the biggest legal US sportsbook operator in the US according to market share. Owned by UK-based Flutter Entertainment, the company is not wasting any time in formulating plans for the Ontario market.

The first move was hiring Dale Hooper to manage the FanDuel Canada operation. The former Rogers Communications executive has extensive knowledge of the Canadian market. His team at Rogers was instrumental in forming a strategic partnership with the NHL for Canadian broadcast rights.

His team also created Hometown Hockey. This was a three-day traveling festival meant to promote the NHL in smaller communities in Canada.

Hooper also has extensive knowledge of the legal cannabis industry in Canada. He has often drawn parallels between the two industries in light of legal single-game sports betting. Hooper is also well versed in the regulatory end of each industry.

FanDuel is looking to draw on this experience as it enters the Ontario commercial sports betting market. As opposed to taking a wait-and-see approach, the New York-based company is going all-in on its North American expansion plans.

Industry insiders predict that Ontario’s legal online gaming market could generate close to $990 million in revenue. This covers the first full year under the new sports betting laws. This could grow to $1.9 billion by 2026.

FanDuel will have some competition right out of the gate. Penn National Gaming has a deal in place to acquire Toronto-based Score Media and GamingPointsBet Holdings is formulating a Canadian division based in Toronto as well.

DraftKings has expressed an interest in the Ontario market. However, the Boston-based sportsbook operator is still in the process of formulating its expansion plans.

Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise here.

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