How MLB’s Lockout Ending Impacts Ontario Sports Betting Launch

Ontario’s new commercial sports betting market opens up on April 4, originally the first Monday after the 2022 MLB season expected to begin. Instead, negotiations between the MLBPA and league owners started back on December 2. A lockout lasted 99 days, pushing the season to start later. While it may have some impact on sportsbook activity, at least this ended the uncertainty as to when the sport would throw its first pitch.

This is happy development for Toronto Blue Jays and general baseball fans. There’s a renewed sense of momentum to the launch of Ontario’s regulated sports betting. Even with a slight delay of the season’s start – from March 31st to April 7th – things are looking up for the province and fans alike.

MLB Lockout Pushes Opening Day Past Ontario’s Sports Betting Launch 

Ontario is the first province to make the move to expand regulation for igaming and capitalize on the prospective tax revenue generated from the expanded legalization. The province hopes to maximize the potential excitement of sports fans regarding the April 4th launch, so the end of the MLB lockout couldn’t come at a better time.

The Canadian Gaming Association estimates $4 billion is wagered annually on gray market online sports betting websites. Heavy interest in Ontario’s expanded market is based on its potential to be one of the biggest igaming markets in North America. With the lockout’s end, the buzz around baseball can add to the push for the market’s success.

Fortunate Timing for New and Experienced Bettors?

The MLB lockout was disappointing for fans looking forward to a full season of baseball. It could have put a damper on the enthusiasm of Ontario’s commercial market launch. It also would have potentially delayed expanding the draw of igaming to those fans waiting for the legalization of the industry.

Without baseball, Ontarians interested in betting through regulated sportsbooks would have been left with few events. Outside of niche options, NBA playoffs and some of golf’s major events would be high-profile North American sports.

The new MLB start date of April 7th looks like it may be optimal timing for new bettors. It gives them time to choose a sportsbook, set up accounts, and wager on baseball’s upcoming games and futures. More odds are available now after the disruption of the lockout has subsided.

Sportsbooks in Ontario

The province hopes to maximize the potential excitement of fans for the legal sports betting launch. The list of operators joining the market continues to grow leading up to opening day. The AGCO has distributed at least 14 licenses so far to operators. This includes PointsBet, theScore Bet, BetRivers, and 888sport.

DraftKings and BetMGM are the co-exclusive official sports betting partners of MLB. However, these platforms may not be available until after launch with no licensure given yet.

Excitement About the Upcoming Toronto Blue Jays Season

The Blue Jays are a top five team to win the World Series at most sportsbooks. DraftKings only has the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees favored better to win it all. BetMGM has the best futures odds for the Blue Jays among high-profile sportsbooks at +1300 (14.00). This leads to a promising season for fans, bettors, sportsbook operators, and the province. Let’s play ball!

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of Toronto Sports Media. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of international football (not "soccer") and Gaelic sports.