- Horse racing is coming soon to Ontario sportsbooks
Horse racing is coming soon to Ontario sportsbooks
In the wake of Kentucky Derby 2023, one of the most prestigious tournaments of the year, Ontarians are still unable to bet on horse racing since regulated sportsbooks are not allowed to have that option. Bettors that want to bet on such events are limited to Dark Horse Bets and HPIbet. However, that is expected to change at the end of the year. The Toronto-based racetrack operator Woodbine Entertainment, is actively working on the expansion of betting on horse racing to licensed operators, something that could happen before winter 2023.
Horse racing was excluded from the legalisation of online sports betting in 2021. The only form allowed is through the pooled, pari-mutuel model, which is monitored by federal authorities. High-profile bookmakers like DraftKings and FanDuel will be among the first to include horse racing events in their sportbooks, while all wagers will be processed through the Woodbine platform.
Legalisation is expected to boost revenues
Woodbine has calculated that the introduction of horse racing events to regulated bookmakers will further boost its revenues. In the first year of operations, the Ontario igaming industry handled C$35.6 billion in wagers and had C$1.6 billion in revenue. Each player wagered around C$70 every month. Based on these figures, Ontario ranks among the Top-5 regions in North America.
Michael Copeland, President of Commercial Operations for Woodbine, commented: "We've made a lot of progress, and our hope and expectation is that we're able to go live before the fall, and, right now, we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to do that."
Technical work done, regulators likely to approve
All the technical work is done according to Mr. Copeland, and Woodbine's systems are ready to be integrated into sportsbooks' platforms. On a similar note, there are active discussions with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), to iron out all the licensing details. “It would be widely distributed across the industry. If we weren't able to integrate and be offered alongside the other sports within sportsbooks, I think it would be extremely dire for the racing industry because I think that will ultimately be the platform of choice for sports bettors and horseplayers to make bets,” he added.
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