PointsBet Canada which is a leader in sports betting and partner to many sports teams and leagues is lobbying for the advancement of Saskatchewan’s iGaming industry. The operator who already operates in Ontario’s online sector for private brands, says that Saskatchewan should follow similar steps and introduce its own private market for betting companies.
Currently, PointsBet Canada has partnered up with numerous sports institutions, this includes the Toronto Raptors, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Curling Canada. It has also joined forces with the National Hockey League Alumni Association, and it was one of the first betting operators to go online in Ontario’s iGaming sector when it went live in April 2022.
Open iGaming Model is the Way Forward
CEO of the sports betting operator, Scott Vanderwel, claimed that Ontario’s iGaming model is effective at handling the offshore sector and has provided a path to regulation of grey-market operators. That is why the company is asking the government of Saskatchewan to look into the gaming framework and consider if it would be suitable for the province.
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan has also kicked off an online gaming initiative, which launched at the start of November 2022. However, it is regulated by the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority which selected BCLC’s PlayNow as a platform provider. This was possible after the provincial government gave SIGA exclusive online gambling and single-event wagering rights for the next five years.
Mr. Vanderwel said that the launch of the provincially-run iGaming sector is not a bad move, but he believes that it should not be final. He noted that despite the legal platform, plenty of locals are still playing on grey market websites without protections. That is why he reckons that provinces like Saskatchewan should make their iGaming markets as much competition as possible.
Furthermore, he explained that PointsBet Canada only operates in regulated jurisdiction and has no intention of joining Saskatchewan as an unregulated brand, despite many of its counterparts already doing it. He prefers to have competitors with the same set of rules as the company, as opposed to having those competitors decide that they do not have the option to sit outside of them.
Lastly, the CEO said that as an industry online gaming benefits from a common set of rules to protect players and ensure tax money will be reinvested into the local economy. He is now looking to kick off negations with the Saskatchewan government four years from now but is now requesting the government to back out on its short-term agreement with SIGA.
First Online Gaming Numbers
This month, SIGA issued its first financial report on the iGaming market since its start in November 2022. Online wagering volume in November 2022 reached CA$14.8 million, meanwhile, in December 2022, it jumped to CA$17 million in handle. There were 8,015 registered users, and the platform handled an average of CA$3,967 in wagers for the first two months.
Source: Provost, Kelly “Should Sask. copy Ontario’s model for online sports gambling? A gaming platform makes its case” CBC, January 31, 2023