Ontario sports bettors are probably looking forward to the commercial online market opening up on April 4. For the foreseeable future, however, they will be without daily fantasy sports on DraftKings and FanDuel. Both operators announce these gaming options are off the table due to current Ontario igaming regulations.
With FanDuel Sportsbook launching in the beginning, DFS will become inactive on Friday, April 1. All contests entered prior to that date will still run and winnings will be paid out. DraftKings Sportsbook is releasing later, so games remain available until that point.
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Why Is Ontario Losing Daily Fantasy Sports?
The legalization of online igaming in Ontario created two reasons why local residents will be without DFS contests. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario does allow daily fantasy sports under its new regulations. However, there are stipulations that have complicated things.
First, strict rules are in place to not allow any marketing, advertising, and especially playing in provinces outside of Ontario. This created a situation where DraftKings and FanDuel will have to lock in contest entrants in the province.
While the province has a large population, contests restricted to Ontario would be significantly smaller. There would be fewer entrants and smaller prizes. With less activity, DraftKings nor FanDuel believe they would have the ability to keep these contests going.
Second, DFS is recognized in the regulations. This means there’s a CDN $100,000 annual licensing fee that operators would have to pay per site. They would also need to give at least 20% of their revenue over to the government.
In comparison, other Canadian provinces have little to no regulations on DFS. Both DraftKings and FanDuel expect to continue offering contests throughout the remainder of the country.
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Ontario Gaming Regulation Changes Are Imminent
For fans of daily fantasy sports in Ontario, the news is disappointing. Online sports betting has been available within a gray market in Canada. The official legalization of it is important for better options and player safety, but this puts a damper on it with millions of DFS players in the area.
We can expect to see some changes in Ontario’s igaming regulations in the future. As it stands, large registration fees would limit smaller operators from providing DFS contests in the province. The Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association notes that this is “almost double the rate of any US state.”
Whether or not the fees change, language on who’s allowed to play should. Daily fantasy sports do fall under the umbrella of igaming, but it doesn’t make sense to limit entries in Ontario. Amendments to allow Ontarians to play DFS contests with others could allow exclusions for the activity or additional marketing for that segment of the industry.
Ontario’s legal commercial market for online sports betting and casino gambling launches on April 4. At least a half-dozen operators are expected to go live with various options.