DraftKings Inc. has received a key approval from the regulator overseeing the competitive market for online sports betting in Ontario.
The Boston-based bookmaker was issued an internet gaming operator registration from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) on Friday, the regulator's registry shows.
Receiving the registration means DraftKings now needs to execute an operating agreement with government agency iGaming Ontario before the company can legally launch its online sportsbook and casino in Canada's most populous province.
When exactly DraftKings will launch its iGaming offerings in Ontario remains to be seen, but the receipt of the registration suggests the day is drawing closer. The company also said last week that it is eyeing a second-quarter launch for its online sportsbook in the province, which would be before the end of June.
DraftKings did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Covers that was sent Friday evening.
DraftKings has received its internet gaming operator registration from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.— Geoff Zochodne (@GeoffZochodne) May 13, 2022
DK now just needs to execute an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario before it can launch its online sportsbook in the province:https://t.co/tipFsFirwe pic.twitter.com/vkDwcwWRHk
Still, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins told analysts and investors on a conference call last week that they expect to go live in Ontario "in the near future," pending regulatory approval.
Robins also downplayed the importance of the timing of the company’s Ontario launch, which will come more than a month after the province officially opened its competitive market for online gambling.
DraftKings is one of the biggest regulated sportsbook operators in the United States, so the company's absence was noted in Ontario, where its rivals are already taking wagers.
"Due to the presence of grey-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," Robins said.
However, the launch of DraftKings' online sportsbook in Ontario could mean the company will soon stop offering daily fantasy contests in the province. Other DFS operators have done so citing Ontario's regulatory structure, which includes a requirement that all players must be located inside the province to participate.
Ontario launched its competitive market for online sports betting and internet casino gambling on April 4. Before then, only the government-owned Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. was permitted by the province to offer online gambling.
As of Friday evening, there were more than a dozen gambling brands legally taking bets from Ontarians via the new regulatory framework. That includes the latest addition, NorthStar Bets, which went live in the province earlier this week.
NorthStar Bets is ultimately owned by the same group that owns Torstar Corp., a holding company whose businesses include the Toronto Star newspaper.
"NorthStar Bets was designed and built for Ontarians and as an Ontario-based company, we're excited to launch in our home province," said Michael Moskowitz, CEO and founding partner of NorthStar Gaming, in a press release.