Ontario’s seventh real money online poker room may be on the horizon. playtech may have another candidate for a proposed online poker network that manages its iPoker platform in Ontario.
Last Thursday, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) issued a one-year online gaming operator license to GWN Limitsubsidiary of Swedish Betsson AB. Betsson plans to launch its Betsafe platform in the provinces. According Review of the game in Canadait is one of a series of new online casino and sportsbook licenses issued by the regulator so far this month.
Betsson must sign an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario (iGO) before Betsafe can go live.
Betsson is already active on iPoker
Betsafe’s license is interesting because it is a notable online poker platform in Europe. Alongside the Betsson brands, the pair are among the largest in Playtech’s global iPoker network. Besides its multi-jurisdictional Maltese license, the company also offers online poker in Latvia, Estonia, Sweden and Greece.
Playtech announced plans in June to launch an online poker network running iPoker in Ontario, but it needs partners to be viable. So far he has only done Paris NorthStar lined up – but NorthStar is a startup and only launched in the province in May.
Betsson previously used online poker skins on the Microgaming Poker network (MPN), but migrated them to Playtech’s iPoker network when MPN closed in May 2020. The iPoker platform would give Betsson a way to offer online poker in Ontario.
Another potential iPoker partner in Ontario is bet365which has been issued a license by the AGCO on March 31 and launched at market open on April 4.
Bet365 is one of the largest online poker operators in the iPoker network. Although it offers poker worldwide, and one of its 19 domains recognized by the AGCO is poker, the UK-based operator has yet to launch online poker in Ontario.
Coolbet is another potential candidate. The Estonian-based operator previously offered sports betting in Ontario through its license in Malta, but left the gray market to enter Ontario’s regulated market on April 4. It offers online poker in some European markets.
Can Playtech align multiple partners?
Betsson has not indicated its intention to offer online poker in Ontario.
“The licensing process is proceeding as planned and we expect to launch our Betsafe brand in the Ontario local regulated market this year,” said Roderick Spiteri Schillig, Manager of Employer Branding and External Relations for Betsson. . Review of the game in Canada.
Considering Betsson has yet to sign the operating agreement with iGO, Spiteri Schillig said the company will announce the products it plans to launch “at a later stage.”
If Betsson wanted to start poker, he could eventually join NorthStar Bets on the iPoker network. But the network still likely needs additional skins before launching, presumably, in tandem in the province. Coolbet and bet365 could fill the need – and both are currently on the platform in Europe and working with Playtech in Ontario.
Potential iPoker Ontario Skins
|Operator||Have you launched an online casino in Ontario?||Interested in online poker in Ontario?||On iPoker elsewhere?|
|bet365||Yes||Registered a poker subdomain with AGCO||Yes|
How Ontario Compares to Other Distinct Markets
But if an iPoker network does eventually launch in Ontario, there’s also the question of whether the market is already saturated.
Ontario now has four poker networks and six poker rooms, more than any US state:
- 888poker Quebec
- BetMGM Ontario Network — which includes BetMGM Poker Ontario and two Entain brands: bwin Ontario and partypoker Ontario
- PokerStars Quebec
- WSOP Ontario
The province is also a closed market – traders cannot share cash with other jurisdictions.
The separate setup resembles that of two US states, Michigan and Pennsylvania – although it should be noted that Michigan signed the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), a multi-state compact for online poker and (in some cases) online casino games. However, Michigan operators have not yet been allowed to launch multi-state poker.
Ontario is the largest Canadian province in terms of population and has approximately 15 million inhabitants. By comparison, the populations of Pennsylvania and Michigan are 13 million and 10.1 million, respectively.
According to gambling traffic provided by GameIntel, which tracks gambling data and is available exclusively on the Poker Industry PRO Data platform, the three active online poker networks in Ontario (888, BetMGM and PokerStars) averaged 418 concurrent cash game players in September. That’s significantly more than Pennsylvania (298) and Michigan (256) – suggesting the market may already be saturated.
But the rate of cash game players per million inhabitants is close. The rate in Ontario is 27.9 seats per million population, while the averages for Michigan (25.3) and Pennsylvania (22.9) are lower. Ontario’s online poker market is already more active per capita than competing U.S. states, and WSOP Ontario is not yet reflected in these numbers.
This could dampen enthusiasm for launching another online poker network in the province. But if Playtech has lined up several operators – including big European brands with an existing player base in Ontario, like bet365, Betsafe and Coolbet – it could give them the confidence to try online poker.
Learn more about Ontario’s most popular online poker apps in our comprehensive guide.