DraftKings Announces Ontario Sports Betting Launch After Ending DFS Contests

The company's arrival could ratchet up the competition in Ontario, where more than a dozen online sportsbooks were already taking bets.

Last Updated: May 18, 2022 1:50 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
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DraftKings Inc. announced the launch of online casino gambling and sports betting in Ontario on Wednesday, ending more than a month of speculation and shutting the door on the company’s daily fantasy contests in Canada’s most populous province for the time being.

The Boston-based bookmaker is joining Ontario’s market for internet gambling weeks after the entrance of its usual competitors, as the province’s new regulatory framework went live on April 4. 

Still, DraftKings is one of the biggest online sports betting and daily fantasy operators in the United States. The company's addition to an iGaming market in a province whose population would make it the fifth-largest U.S. state could ratchet up the competition in Ontario, where more than a dozen online sportsbooks were already taking bets. 

"DraftKings’ entry into Canada with our online sportsbook and online casino products is a significant milestone in our expansion efforts as we reach nearly 40-percent of Canada's total population," said Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder, chairman, and CEO, in a press release. "We look forward to providing the passionate fanbase in Ontario with the most entertaining and responsible gaming experience possible."

What's the hurry?

Ontario’s competitive market for legal sports betting is unique in Canada. In every other province, the only lawful providers of internet gambling continue to be government-owned lottery and gaming companies.

It was only recently that DraftKings received a key regulatory approval to debut its online sportsbook in Ontario, but the company appeared to be in no particular hurry to do so in the first place.

Robins told analysts and investors earlier this month that DraftKings does not see the timing of its Ontario launch as having a big impact on the market share it can carve out, citing the longstanding presence of grey-market operators in the province.

The company said Wednesday that eligible customers in Ontario can now access its betting markets by downloading the DraftKings mobile apps. 

The launch of DraftKings’ online sportsbook in Ontario also comes as the company has blocked users in the province from playing in its daily fantasy sports contests.

DraftKings said that starting Tuesday morning, users would only be able to play in its DFS contests when outside Ontario and in eligible Canadian provinces and U.S. states. Customers in Ontario now get a message telling them that "due to your current location," they are not allowed to enter contests.

The decision is due to provincial iGaming regulations which, among other things, require all players to be in the province.

Other DFS operators have stopped offering contests in Ontario as well, including DraftKings’ main rival, FanDuel, irking potentially thousands of fantasy players in the province. Like DraftKings, FanDuel is now offering online sports betting in Ontario instead. 

“While we know this is unfortunate news for our passionate daily fantasy sports players, we will continue to work with the provincial government to try to bring daily fantasy sports back to Ontario as soon as possible,” DraftKings said in a recent message to users in the province. 

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