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- FEATURE: Ontario Online Gambling
Ontario launched their much anticipated iGaming on April 4. This has allowed private operators registered with the province to offer their products and services in their regulated market.
Ontario online casinos that are up and running already include some big names such as BetMGM, Caesars, and FanDuel. At the same time, a few oddballs have entered the market, or have received approval to do so soon. Some are just lesser-known brands, while others offer products that are themselves a bit out of the ordinary.
Here’s a look at some of the names you might not be familiar with if you’ve been paying attention the US market.
Likely the most lively looking obscure betting site is Buddybet. They offer both cash betting and free betting for bragging rights. Neither are exclusive to sports.
The only things you can’t bet on with Buddybet is set out in their guidelines:
Bets must not:
(a) be offensive, distasteful or unsavoury.
(b) involve the death or injury of a person or animal;
(c) incite criminal conduct or the inducement of criminal conduct;
(d) incite or encourage someone to breach of a sport governing body’s rules;
(e) prejudice or embarrass, or be likely to prejudice or embarrass a sport governing body or Buddybet; and
(f) involve ethnicity.
AGCO has additional restrictions of its own, for instance prohibiting bets on assets and financial markets.
Though the types of wagers available are limitless, the stakes aren’t. There’s a maximum bet of $250 regardless of what you’re wagering on.
LottoGo is a brand from the Annexio Group of Companies. Their Canadian .ca website still just has a “coming soon” message. However, they have AGCO approval to operate in Ontario, so could go live at any time.
Internationally, their product is Lottery Betting, which means betting on real-world lottery results, though a third-party company. Players can bet on specific numbers coming up in a lottery of their choosing. LottoGo offers various kinds of prizes, including cash payouts.
However, this form of gambling is expressly illegal in Ontario. The AGCO regulations stipulate that no betting on either simulated or real-world lotteries is permitted. That leaves it an open question what they expect to offer in the regulated market.
The answer is probably online casino games, since the international site also includes “instant win” games of the sort you’d ordinarily find on an iLottery site.
Coolbet already has established roots in Europe. They are a sportsbook and gaming site registered with AGCO through a subsidiary, as Coolbear Ontario Limited.
Their welcome page seems to put user safety first:
A nice form of entertainment is going to the cinema, which normally costs around 10 euros. In the same way, adding some extra excitement to your evening by betting on your local derby is also a form of entertainment which requires you to spend some money. Our goal is to be best on responsible gaming and to build a software that takes responsible gaming seriously.
Their name is even based on on their motto “Stay Cool and Bet Responsibly.”
Fitzdares is an operator based in the UK. Their home website offers betting – with a focus on horse racing – through their app and website, online chat, text, phone, and email.
However, their Canadian website is yet to fully launch. It could be possible for Ontarians to expect similar services from this company, which has a 200-year history. Most interestingly, they’re not just sticking with online gambling, but looking to establish a retail presence as well.
In a press release:
“Fitzdares’ first North American launch will be complemented by their members’ club, The Fitzdares Club, which will open its doors in Toronto next year. The Toronto Fitzdares Club will provide members a homely yet luxurious setting to watch live sport, complemented by legendary British hospitality.”
As noted in the press release the club will be members-only.
LeoVegas Group registered two operators separately: LeoVegas and Royal Panda. They will both offer casino games and sports betting in Ontario, both using LeoVegas’s platform, “Rhino.”
LeoVegas itself is a fairly big name in online casino internationally, though absent from the US market. Royal Panda is lesser known, but a fairly similar product, save for a different look and feel, and a lack of live dealer games at the moment.
Rivalry has an intriguing angle, namely esports betting. This means betting on video game players (or teams) playing things like Call of Duty Mobile, Star Craft 2, King of Glory, etc. There are over two dozen such games on offer at the moment.
They also offer betting on traditional sports such as UFC, hockey, and basketball.
They also have their own online casino that they explain in their company overview as:
“its own originally developed casino game, Rushlane, a world first in the category of Massively Multiplayer Online Gambling Games (MMOGG’s). With a wholly owned and internally developed proprietary tech stack, double digit month-over-month growth, and profitable customer unit economics, Rivalry is building the leading betting and entertainment destination for the next generation.”
However, AGCO has clarified that Rushlane has not been approved for use in Ontario.
White Hat Gaming under TWHG inc has registered more brands in Ontario than any other company. It’s well thought-out and versatile company, but a pretty new one. It originated in 2021, from the acquisition of a remote game server, brand and gaming catalogue that had belonged to Blueprint Gaming.
Gate 777 offers various slots but little in way of table games – just roulette at the moment. Dream Vegas is the opposite, seemingly more geared towards table games. Some other brands – CasiGo, Casimba, Hello Casino, FireVegas, Jackpot Village and Playzee – have more fleshed out offerings, some including live dealer.