April 4th will see legal and regulated gambling launch in the Canadian province of Ontario. This will mean the opening of a spate of new .ca sites. Plus the .com sites will be disabling of the accounts of players located in the province.
Several online poker sites have already sorted out their licenses. The World Series of Poker recently announced that it had finalized its license for WSOP.ca and GGPoker has had its license in hand for almost a month now.
Players in Ontario will also most likely be able to play in a ring-fenced player pool on PokerStars soon. Flutter is currently working with the regulator to sort out the relevant licenses. Flutter’s other brand FanDuel has a license for its SportsBook and Casino products in Ontario.
However, not all of the brands under Flutter have made the cut. There has been no announcement for a Canadian version of the PaddyPower Poker software or FoxBet brand yet. Though, these are not necessarily surprising exclusions.
The Ontarian market is ring-fenced, meaning that player’s can only compete against players who are also physically located in the province. Duplicating licenses in such a small market seems like a case of diminishing returns and so Flutter understandably just hasn’t bothered.
Daily Fantasy Sports pull out
One surprise, however, was the statement on the FanDuel site, explaining that the brand will not be continuing to offer Daily Fantasy Sports in Ontario.
Although the brand lives on in Ontario as a sportsbook and casino, the text on the FanDuel site reads: “Due to a change in government regulations, FanDuel will not be able to offer paid or free daily fantasy contests in the province of Ontario starting on April 1st.”
Ontario residents won’t need to close down their accounts. As the message explains, “Ontario residents can participate in daily fantasy contests while physically located in other provinces and within U.S. states where daily fantasy is permitted.
“Additionally, Ontario residents will be able to utilize the FanDuel Sportsbook and Casino products launching in Ontario beginning April 4th.”
DraftKings, the second-biggest operator in the DFS space is also pulling out of Ontario. The reason given by ActionNetwork is that Ontario’s bill classified DFS as gambling. The classification of DFS is a source of major concern across the border. DFS’s legality, popularity, and regulation in the U.S. are all heavily dependent on the entire industry presenting itself as if DFS weren’t a form of gambling.
General sentiment views legalization as largely positive. However, the way in which Ontario has legalized gambling within the province is not universally popular. One of the First Nations located in the province has brought a lawsuit against the province.
Now, losing DFS may cause a few more Ontarians to switch sides on the issue too.