It promises to be a massive year for sports betting in Canada as April will mark the first time that commercial sportsbooks will be allowed to operate in Ontario. The province was the first to push through the legislation to allow commercial betting sites to accept bets on single-event sports.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has been given the task of overseeing sports betting in the province, and 2021 saw the establishment of iGaming Ontario. This organisation will be expected to ensure that fair competition is carried out between the operators and that consumers get a decent amount of protection when they bet online.
There will also be efforts made to ensure that each licensed provider of sport betting will adhere to the values of responsible gambling and that a variety of player protection tools will be on offer for all consumers. This means that customers should be able to set their own limits on their deposits, wagering and losses, and there should also be a self-exclusion facility.
But it’s not just iGaming Ontario that is ensuring that the new wave of online sportsbooks are up to par. This is because there is already a healthy number of review sites like gamblingguy.com who carry out independent reviews of the many different betting sites operating across Canada. Such resources have proven invaluable for many Canadian betting fans, as the previous absence of regulation made it hard for consumers to know which sportsbooks to trust.
Expectations are high that the launch of commercial sports betting in Ontario will go off without a hitch on April 4. It has yet to be determined how many people will start betting, but each sportsbook will have to ensure that the signing up procedures are robust enough to make sure that only those of 19 years or older are allowed to play.
While such a task may prove to be relatively simple, there remain a few hurdles in ensuring that bettors in Canada are able to adequately fund their bets. The expectation is that players should be able to make deposits at a betting site with a credit card or debit card, however there are still a few obstacles in place for anyone wishing to make PayPal deposits at online sportsbooks in Canada. Thankfully, many of the sportsbooks expected to launch in Ontario have already made provision for taking payments with the Interac payment solution.
The timing of the launch of commercial sports betting is interesting. With much of the NHL season already underway, and less than a month until the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs, there’s hope that there could be a bumper amount of bets put down to get Ontario sport betting off the ground. But with a strong sporting tradition already evident in Ontario, it’s hoped that April’s launch could provide plenty of optimism for the gradual roll-out of commercial sports betting across Canada.