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Why DraftKings Does Not Mind Later Ontario Sports Betting Start


DraftKings should go live in Ontario by the end of May after securing a sports betting license for the province.

The operator was added to the AGCO-approved operator list Friday with a two-year ON sports betting license.

DraftKings is one of the last major US sportsbooks to go live in the Canadian province, which launched six weeks ago.

Gray competition in Ontario

DraftKings suggested at its recent Q1 results that being first to market was not a priority. CEO Jason Robins told analysts:

“Due to the presence of gray-market operators, many of which have been present in Ontario for several years, we do not believe that the timing of our launch will have any impact on the share we are able to achieve in that province.”

CFO Jason Park said the company was targeting a May launch.

DraftKings cautious on Ontario sports betting success

Indeed, DraftKings appears to have relatively low expectations for Ontario in the short term. Its 2023 forecasts included “minimal net revenue” from Ontario, analysts pointed out on the Q1 call.

The operator also pulled its DFS product from the market because of liquidity pooling restrictions. Ontario cannot share DFS liquidity with any other jurisdictions at present.

Robins noted Ontario represented about 40% of Canada’s population and would be the fifth-largest US state by population.

Ontario sports betting competition heating up

Twenty-six companies have received licenses from AGCO for the Ontario online gambling market.

US tribal outfit Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment also received its Ontario license Friday and will launch a PlayFallsview online brand, powered by Kambi.

Toronto-based NorthStar Gaming announced last Tuesday it launched NorthStar Bets.

Who is leading ON sports betting?

Penn National has been bullish on the performance of its theScore Bet brand, which leads all sports betting apps in downloads since April. Likewise, BetMGM said at its investor day last week its brand had been “remarkably” well-received.

However, Ontario regulators will not issue any firm revenue data for a while. A spokesperson for the regulator, iGaming Ontario, said last week any such communications would have to wait until after Ontario elections on June 2.

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