A job posting from a current gray market sportsbook operator in Ontario has sparked rumors about its future. In a move that may indicate an attempted entry into Ontario’s regulated sports betting market, gray market Pinnacle is looking for a Canada Country Manager. The commercial sportsbook market in Ontario recently opened on April 4 and has seen great success.
That success has led to more operators eying the Ontario sportsbook market for ways to capitalize on the interest. Pinnacle, which is a low-margin sportsbook operator, could be the latest to try to make this move. The new center for the sports betting market in Ontario is in Toronto, which is where the Canada Country Manager for Pinnacle would be operating out of.
This job description was posted last week. According to the posting, the Canada Country Manager will be overseeing the market expansion for Pinnacle in Canada and working on market access. The posting also indicates the hire will need to seek out Canadian market opportunities, including product and platform requirements. The recruit will also need to seek out possible opportunities for partnerships for the company.
However, it is this part of the description that is raising eyebrows and suggesting the gray market operator may be looking to go legit. The new hire will need to work in close contact with Pinnacle’s legal and compliance team to ensure licensing requirements for new Canadian market entries are planned and executed.
Pinnacle has been able to make a name for itself with Canadian sports bettors throughout the country as a gray market operator. But this language seen in the job listing does indicate that gray market status may change, and a jump into the regulated Ontario sports betting market could be coming. However, Pinnacle has not confirmed nor denied this potential move.
Instead, the company has just indicated its interest in the Ontario sports betting market. However, it does appear that even if Pinnacle does move to the regulated sports betting market in Ontario, the company will still continue to operate in the gray market to service the rest of the country. Though, as sports betting opens up in different Canadian provinces, and as provinces with existing markets expand to allow commercial operators, this strategy could change.
Pinnacle could make a big splash in the regulated Ontario sports betting market due to its already existing fanbase in the province. It would be following in the footsteps of other gray market operators who have moved into the regulated sports betting market in Ontario, including bet365 as well as bwin. This move, if it happens, would also be viewed as a test case for how a low-margin sportsbook competes against leading major market operators like BetMGM and FanDuel. Yet, Pinnacle would be starting with a leg up when compared to leading U.S. operators like the aforementioned two because of its existing customer base in Canada.
As of right now, there are thirteen sportsbooks operating in the expanded Ontario sportsbook market.
If Pinnacle makes this move into the regulated Canadian market, could a move into the regulated U.S. markets be far behind? It will remain to be seen what moves this company has in mind in the next few months. In the meantime, best of luck to the new Canada Country Manager at Pinnacle.
Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.
The featured image for this post was sourced on Getty Images.
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