US online gambling giants design Canadian game plan
Some of the leading online casino and sportsbook operators are eyeing the Canadian market as it seemingly starts to open up. Operators are looking to scale up their market share, particularly in the booming Ontario market which features private players. Other Canadian provinces may take a leaf out of Ontario’s book and give up their lottery monopolies and allow private operators to offer services – at least, that is the hope. The spark that ignited this hope is largely due to what transpired on Aug 27th – Sports betting on single sporting fixtures was launched in Canada. Apart from Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, all other provinces have already gone ahead with this provision. It is expected that Saskatchewan will also follow in these footsteps soon.
Since the news of this launch, US based sports betting giants such as FanDuel and PointsBet have reportedly announced vacancies for their Toronto offices. This is seen as a massive vote of confidence given that sports betting in Canada is only allowed via the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Proline+ application.
The landscape seems to be evolving in Canada not just for sports betting, but online casino gambling as well. Traditionally, online casinos have been operated by the same state sanctioned offices such as the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). However, the OLG has recently invited private entities to send in their applications and launch new online casinos for the Ontario market. The surge in new online casinos will offer Canadians more opportunities to claim no deposit bonuses than in previous years
FanDuel and PointsBet are already proactive in securing the Canadian online gambling market
Having made a new role to oversee their Canada operations, FanDuel have stepped in with their best foot forward. They announced Dale Hooper as their new General Manager of Canada in mid-October. Currently, FanDuel will cater to Ontario which accounts for nearly 40% of the Canadian population. However, they are going to be ready to expand and serve all provinces as soon as the markets there follow suit and open up to private players.
Australian online gambling company, PointsBet, is no slouch either. They have already started the formation of an upper management team in Canada to bear responsibility for Canadian related operations and business development. PointsBet Canada was only launched a few months ago after the hiring of former Monkey Knife Fight president Nic Sulsky.
DraftKings in research mode
DraftKings are trying to make their mark by first gathering big data on the Canadian market. Having a holistic database of Canadian online punters will help them target ads and other forms of marketing as soon as the market opens up for private companies. This can result in a quick migration of existing online punters from sub-standard state sanctioned websites to state-of-the-art sports betting facilities such as FanDuel and DraftKings.
Statement by Rush Street Interactive (RSI)
RSI recently launched an online casino and sportsbook called Casino4Fun via its in-house brand BetRivers. At this platform, players from Canada can play casino games and try sports betting without actually wagering any real money. Since this does not amount to actual gambling, it is already legal and legitimate. We expect that when the markets privatize, brands like BetRivers can simply go ahead and add the option of playing/wagering real money instead of dummy credits.
RSI released a statement in their Oct 14th Press Release, it goes as follows: “RSI expects to launch real-money online casino and sports betting in Ontario under its BetRivers brand in the coming months, subject to licensing and regulatory approvals. In the meantime, CASINO4FUN® will enable the Company to build its brand and player database and promptly provide these players access to complete the registration process for the BetRivers real-money platform upon launch.”
Canadian Hockey Icon Wayne Gretzky is Still a Powerful Marketing Tool for Operators
Ontario local Wayne Gretzky is one of the most successful and popular hockey players in Canada. He had a long and illustrious career than spanned over two decades. 60 year old Gretzky, threw in the towel in 1999 and now lives in the US. Gretzky still makes for a great brand ambassador and his face is leveraged strategically by operators to lure in online sports bettors in Canada.
In late October, BetMGM Sportsbook not only used Gretzky in their advert to promote themselves, but also claimed to be the King of Sportsbook. This is despite the fact that experienced punters know that this is a purely anecdotal and subjective statement since FanDuel is number 1 when you look at the numbers.
FanDuel is sizing up Gretzky too. FanDuel have announced that they will soon go live with an NFT (non-fungible token) collection of their own which will feature NFTs relating to iconic sportspersons. Wayne Gretzky, they said, is going to be one of the featured NFTs as well.
Hockey is extremely popular in Canada. In fact, along with Lacrosse, it is considered one of the two national sports of the Canada. It’s worth mentioning that the most popular sport in Canada in terms of sports betting is actually football and not Hockey. Reportedly, almost 50% of all sports bets placed by Canadians were bets placed on Football.