Ontario’s sports betting market has enjoyed plenty of interest from players and operators, and now STX is willing to take the sector to the next level. Just recently, the operator announced that it is preparing to launch the first licensed sports wagering exchange in the province. The company’s aim is to introduce a unique sort of betting and capture some of the market’s players.
On April 4, 2022, Ontario became the first Canadian province to open up its online gambling and sports betting markets to the private sector. Now, the market has regulated more than 30 sports wagering sites, proving to be quite competitive. That is why STX is hopeful to bring a new style of betting to the province and try to shake up the local industry.
License is Acquired
STX reported that it has obtained a license from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which oversees the market. Now, the company needs to strike an operating agreement with AGCO’s subsidiary iGaming Ontario before going online. A sports betting exchange would allow Ontarians to wager against each other instead of going with the usual wagering against a sportsbook.
One of the positives of a sports betting exchange is that it comes with lower fees than the ones of traditional sports betting platforms. For instance, instead of placing CA$110 to win CA$100 on a team to cover the spread of 3 points against another team, players can now just put CA$100 for the same bet and wait for another customer of the exchange to accept and match it.
Once online in Ontario, the province would be the second North American jurisdiction to boast exchange betting with New Jersey being the only other which currently offers similar sports betting services. Unfortunately for users, the company did not provide a launch date for the province. But it said will offer responsible betting by utilizing its application programming interface, risk mitigation tools and transparency.
However, it should be also mentioned that such an exchange can also have some downsides. For instance, bets on lower-popularity sports can remain unmatched. Also, a CA$100 point spread bet on the NFL would be easily matched, but if one’s bet is on obscure sports or types it can be left hanging. Lastly, such exchanges do not offer the popular free money or free-bet promotions as the ones from traditional sportsbooks.
Sports Betting Popularity Raises Concerns
But the popularity of sports betting in Ontario has been a cause of concern for many. This, led to the AGCO proposing to ban sports athletes from endorsing such activities. The gaming watchdog’s notion is also to forbid the use of cartoon figures, symbols, role models, social media influencers, celebrities or entertainers who tend to appeal to younger audiences.
The Canadian Mental Health Association has also weighed in on the matter and also wants a ban on all iGaming ads. The organization also provided some alarming data and cited an increase in Grades 7 to 12 students wagering money on online gambling. It also reminded that approximately 15% of students have participated in real-money iGaming. This was 4% higher than in 2020.
Source: Pierre, C.J. “STX To Launch First Ontario Sports Betting Exchange” PlayCanada, May 23, 2023