Sportsbooks Allowed to Operate in Ontario Despite Applications Waiting to Be Approved

Updated: 223 Sport

Sportsbooks Allowed to Operate in Ontario Despite Applications Waiting to Be Approved
Steve Madgwick Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

  • BetRegal operating legally in Ontario despite no License as yet
  • One of a few former grey market brands using a loophole
  • Other provinces will be watching developments closely in Ontario

The Ontario gaming industry has seen a lot of change since the legalization of sports betting. The industry is booming and there are more companies than ever before entering the market. One company that has been able to do this successfully is BetRegal, an online sportsbook that operates in Ontario despite not yet having received approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. 

There are many reasons why BetRegal is able to do so, but it all starts with a rule enacted in Ontario that allows sportsbooks that submitted applications for licenses before April 4th to operate while those applications are under consideration. 

As a previous gray market sportsbook, critics argue that BetRegal enjoyed an unfair advantage in that it acquired customers before the laws were changed. Those critics are speaking up now and calling out Ontario for this practice. 

“The reality of this is it really doesn’t matter if they’re licensed or not at this point because they’re still able to operate in the province,” said Greg Warren, who covers sports betting in Canada for and in a Global News article. “Nothing has really changed for them . . . they’re just not an officially licensed product of Ontario yet.”

Sports betting operators are allowed to operate in Ontario despite the application still being under consideration

BetRegal is a sports betting operator that is allowed to operate in Ontario despite its application still being under consideration. The reason for this is that companies that submitted documentation before the legal market opened can operate their business while their application is under consideration. 

BetRegal is a former grey market operator and has partnered with the CFL. The firm is not yet approved to operate in Ontario but it remains one of many grey market operators that are now applying for a license. 

CFL odds are displayed on the front page of the BetRegal sportsbook. It’s a little ironic that Canada’s main football league has a multi-year partnership with BetRegal, a sportsbook operator that doesn’t yet have an approved license in Ontario, Canada’s only province with a regulated sports betting industry. 

With over 20 online sportsbooks now available in Ontario, sports betting fans have a wealth of choice outside of the grey market operators, and other provinces are keeping a close eye on the progression.

Steve Madgwick - Editor-In-Chief -

BetRegal is one of many former grey market operators that now has made applications for a license 

As mentioned above, BetRegal is one of many grey market operators that now has made an application for a license to operate in the legal Ontario market. Grey market sportsbooks want to gain a legal way to operate in Canada and be able to offer their services without running the risk of getting shut down by regulators. 

Since this change to a legal Ontario market happened earlier this year, many other grey market sportsbooks have applied for licenses so they can legally run their businesses in Canada and offer Canadian customers access to the types of products they need most: live betting lines on sporting events; wagering opportunities on all major sports including Baseball and the MLB, National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), etc.; as well as eSports betting options such as League Of Legends (LoL).

There is a lack of punishment for grey market operators 

The reason why this can happen is because of the lack of punishment for grey market operators who aren’t licensed but still offer betting opportunities within Canada (or any other jurisdiction). It also means these sites have an advantage over legal operators who have waited for approval before launching their products into public markets—and those legal operators are often forced to cut prices significantly due to competition from unlicensed competitors on price alone. 

"The government has permitted them to just basically transfer players over to a new regulated app," said Macquarie Group analyst Chad Benyon to Yahoo! News. "I'm not really sure why they chose to go the route."

Other provinces are surely watching the developments of the Ontario legal market and taking notes for when they decide to enact sports betting legislation. The way that Ontario has allowed former legal gray markets to profit off of their bending of the rules before legalization is something that other provinces may want to prevent. 

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