Canada Single-Game Sports Betting Early Returns: Ontario Clears $1M Handle

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The early returns from Canada’s launch of legal single-game sports betting are in, and they are very encouraging for the future. In June, the Canadian legislature passed C-218 which decriminalized wagering on single events on a federal level, and on August 27, Canada launched its single-game sports betting market. Single-game sports wagering is now live in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

British Columbia

British Columbia has launched single-game sports betting via the British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s PlayNow.com. 1,208 new players in BC have registered for an account and that number is continuing to grow. British Columbia has a population of around 5 million which has rapidly grown by about 5-7% per year since the early 2000s.

PlayNow.com saw a 96% increase in the number of wagers over this past weekend compared to the prior weekend as well as a 72% increase in the amount of money wagered. 41% of those wagers were on single games while 53.5% of total money wagered was on single games. Bettors wagered approximately C$40,000 on the Jake Paul vs. Tyrone Woodley fight, and 92.6% of those bets were singles.

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation has estimated that it has lost as much as C$250 million over the past five years to offshore unregulated sites such as Bovada and MyBookie. While BC has launched its government-run online sports betting platform, it’s unclear if the province intends on opening the market to US-based providers.

Ontario

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The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced last Wednesday that it had handled more than C$1 million over the first five days of legalized single-game sports betting. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is running the Proline online sportsbook as the first platform for online sports betting in the province.

Ontario’s Proline online sportsbook saw 74% of wagers placed under the single-game variety. Ontario also has 24 retail operations including a Caesars Sportsbook in Windsor, all of which now offer single-event sports betting.

Ontario has expressed plans to open its iGaming market to private operators in the coming months with platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel expected to get in on the action. Ontario is the only province with firm plans to invite private sportsbooks into the market.

Ontario has a population of 14.8 million people, which would make it a top ten market in the United States. The potential for staggering sports betting revenue is obvious and as Ontario’s market continues to develop, the province should benefit greatly from lofty tax returns associated with sports betting.

Next Steps

Along with British Columbia and Ontario, other provinces have now launched single-game sports betting. The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation is providing single-game sports betting in Manitoba. The Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission is operating single-game sports betting in Alberta. In Quebec, single-game sports betting is now live courtesy of Loto-Quebec.

It’s an exciting time for sports betting enthusiasts in Canada as we are in the infant stages of what should evolve into a massive market with competing platforms. The NFL season kicks off on Thursday night, and the provinces that have launched sports betting will be thrilled to have done so in time for football.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. As the United States embarks on an exciting journey towards the legalization of sports betting, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to write about the implementation process of one of my favorite hobbies.

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