Online Gambling in Ontario Launches

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The Raptor mascot waves a flag before the start of the Toronto Raptors. Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images/AFP

The numbers are out after the opening week of online sports and casino gambling in Ontario and the market is as robust as most anticipated. BetRivers is one online operator that believes the best is yet to come in the lucrative Canadian market.  

Ontario Has Liftoff 

April 4th, 2022 marked the official launch of online casino and sports betting in Ontario and there are currently 16 iGaming providers licensed to operate: Annexio (LottoGo), BetMGM, Coolbet, FanDuel, Fitzdares, bet365, LeoVegas, WSOP, Ontario Lottery and Gaming, PointsBet, Rivalry, Royal Panda, Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers Ontario), theScore, Unibet, and 888. 

The sheer number of competitors in the Ontario market is what differentiates it from those markets in the United States. Max Bichsel, Vice President of Business Development for, was asked what would make one operator stand out amongst the rest. 

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“The main difference between Ontario versus the US is the amount of competition. With dozens of competing brands in Ontario, operators must differentiate themselves not only with a breadth of products but also with user experience. This includes, but is not limited to, an intuitive registration process, simple deposit and withdrawal functionality, and a keen focus on real-time customer service,” Bichsel said.  

After the first week, we see how the sports betting side of things broke down and it reveals that, not surprisingly, the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Blue Jays were the most popular NBA and MLB teams bet by Ontarians. And it was the NBA that attracted the most betting action, garnering 36 percent of the handle followed by the Masters (17%) and MLB (14%)

As for casino gaming, it has been reported that slots were the most popular online games followed by blackjack in the first week of digital casino action in the province.  

BetRivers Optimistic 

Rush Street Interactive (RSI), the owner of BetRivers, believes the nascent online gambling industry in Ontario shows promise based on a vigorous first week of betting.  

Richard Schwartz, CEO of RSI, said, “April 4 was an important day for our BetRivers community and the iGaming industry in Ontario and we are thrilled to see such a strong start in the province. The response we have seen in Ontario has reinforced that there is a huge appetite for regulated online casinos and sports betting within the market. With our easy-to-use platform, our new Ontario customers enjoyed the convenience of wagering on an exciting array of online casino games and sporting events, safely from their mobile devices and computers.” 

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Schwartz also added, “Last week’s launch is just the beginning for the BetRivers brand in Ontario. We look forward to continuing to build our presence in the market as we bring our industry-leading online gaming and sports betting experience to the millions of gaming enthusiasts in Ontario.” 

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) allows anyone 19 or older within the physical boundaries of the province to legally bet with the licensed providers.  

“A player’s residency status is not a factor in whether they can play on websites offered by registered and authorized operators,” the AGCO explained. “The requirement is that players must physically be in Ontario to play legally.”