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BetMGM Ontario Review 2022

BetMGM is now one of many legal Ontario betting sites.  Much of what we see in the US platform is baked into the platform that used for Ontario.  In our opinion, what we see is disappointing in relative terms compared to the other providers in the Ontario market.  Unlike other US entrants to the legal Ontario market that have hired for many kinds of local employees, BetMGM has made very few local hires within Canada. Thus, we also have questions over how well BetMGM will be able to understand the differences between the US and Canadian markets, toward offering a truly Canadian sportsbook offering. We start our review off with their first big mistake, the odds formats that they offer.


BetMGM Grade

• Much slower site relative to top brands
• High odds margins outside the 'big 4'
• Launched with 'Decimal' odds only, no option for 'American' odds (eg. -110)
• US bonus offer only for 'lost 1st bet'
• Poor 'international' sports coverage
• Zero esports coverage


BetMGM Ontario launches with 'Decimal' odds format only

The first big mistake by BetMGM Ontario is that they launched their platforms to only display the 'Decimal' odds format. This is good for people that like this format, or people moving over from Proline, which has always used 'Decimal' odds for its games. However, if you prefer 'American' odds format like -110 or +185, this is not even an option for you at BetMGM Ontario.  If you have roots in the UK and prefer 'Fractional' odds, this is also unavailable at BetMGM Ontario. This basic optionality to switch odds formats has simply not been provided, which is a huge problem for players that prefer American or Fractional formats. All our recommended, licensed Ontario betting provider provide the option to switch between these three popular odds formats.  This was an incredible error on the part of BetMGM really.


BetMGM Ontario Site Experience

Unfortunately, our first impression of the BetMGM site is that it is significantly slower than most of the top providers that will be live in Ontario. Given that BetMGM shares technology with Entain brands, this is no surprise, as we have always experienced lag when using Entain's Bwin website.  We are well used the golden wheel that spins on Bwin as you navigate between pages, which makes for a choppy experience.  On BetMGM, rather than a wheel, we get three dancing dots, which animate between page loads.


BetMGM Ontario mobile betting

On the positive side, BetMGM offers the option between their mobile betting site and an app, unlike the other American brand entrants to Ontario like DraftKings, FanDuel & PointsBet that force you to download their mobile Ontario betting apps if you are using a tablet or a mobile.  Even though the BetMGM mobile site is slower than most other legal Ontario sportsbook providers, it is important that they offer you the option, given all the data privacy concerns that surround the use of any mobile app.  If you have these concerns, you'll want access to a betting site from your mobile.  BetMGM also has licenses to use NFL, NHL and NBA logo properties, so these show up in the events area and the main site navigation. This is a small thing, but likely helpful for true beginners to sports betting.  In our opinion, while the BetMGM mobile experience is nowhere near the best within the Ontario market, things could be worse.


BetMGM Ontario odds margins for the 'big' sports

BetMGM Canada looks to use margins that are around 5% or just below, on most of the main betting markets for the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB.  This means that you will find odds that often look like 1.91/1.91 for markets like a point spread or the total.  These margins or 'sportsbook' hold are essentially standard levels for most of the larger brands in the market.  They are not trying to be aggressively competitive with their margins, nor are the margins too high. Things change outside the 'big four' though. 


BetMGM Ontario odds & margins for other sports

When you start looking at BetMGM odds on events outside the 'big four' from a Canadian perspective, the margin percentages tend to widen out, which means the odds will be lower, or payout less, relative to other providers in the market.  For example, while we found some UEFA Champions League matches with margins at 4%, which is nicely competitive, other UCL matches on the same day had margins near 7%, which is far, far less competitive. For the EPL and other top European leagues, most odds margins were in the 6% to 7% range.

In the end of course, you'll need to determine good value on your own bets, just know that for some events at BetMGM, the odds margins (aka sportsbook hold) could be significantly higher.  When we looked at top competitions in rugby and cricket, BetMGM margins also blew out to levels near 8%, which is really uncompetitive compared to some of the more 'international' sportsbook brands that are entering the Ontario market.


How does BetMGM Ontario cover 'International' sports?

BetMGM will do a decent job covering the most popular North American sports and leagues, but Ontario is a very diverse market with fans of rugby, cricket, soccer and tennis that exist in much higher numbers than in the US.  Cricket gets poor coverage, often only with the most basic 2-way moneyline betting market - just above zero coverage. Their rugby betting is a little better, you will get main markets plus several player and team props and total markets.  If 'international' sports will be an important part of your betting action, go with brands that have international brand heritage as they are already serving players around the world and covering all their favourite sports and leagues. These would include brands like Betsafe, Betway, bet365 and BetVictor among others.


How is the BetMGM Ontario bonus offer?

We are not allowed to discuss bonuses in Ontario as there is an outright ban on their advertisement.  When it comes to bonuses, we prefer to see operators that just offer a straight-up promotion based on how much a player deposits, and is accompanied by reasonable terms.  In the US, BetMGM has an offer that is for a free bet up to $1,000, but it only comes into play if the player loses their first bet.  If you register, deposit $1,000, bet that $1,000, and lose it, you get the free bets.  If you win this first bet, you the player, get nothing.  In our opinion, this is a poor style of sportsbook promotion.


BetMGM Ontario Esports coverage: none

BetMGM Ontario does not cover esports at all.  Zero, nada, bupkis.  No esports links or navigation icons existed on the site, nor were there any results for any 'Esports' events via search on site - despite being legally allowed to do so.  This has been copied over from their US offering which also has zero coverage.  Contrast zero esports coverage at BetMGM with the extensive coverage offered at several of our recommended Ontario betting sites.  See our Ontario betting sites ranked for their esports coverage.  If you want to bet on esports from Ontario, these brands recognize the importance of esports and their fans. Incredible really that a betting brand would just copy and paste their offering in this way. Canada and Ontario has far more interest in esports than the US, yet BetMGM did not even bother to look to tweak their offering, even though one of their parent companies (Entain) bought the esports-only betting brand Unikrn. Crazy.


BetMGM Ontario scheme & appearance

On the positive side, we do like BetMGM graphics as used alongside each team, whether it be the team logo, team uniform or the flag representing the nationality of the given player or fighter. The overall BetMGM color scheme incorporates a black masthead and menu, and a clean white background for the main areas of the site for the events and odds. (Which is very similar to both Betsafe and Betway, which in our opinion, will provide far better overall betting experiences for Ontario players.)


Has BetMGM had regulatory compliance problems?

Yes. On March 23, 2022, the New Jersey State gaming regulator fined BetMGM for offering bets on New Jersey college basketball games. There, operators may not accept wagers on NJ-based teams and on collegiate games that take place in NJ. Despite taking only about $100 in bets on an offending game, BetMGM will pay a fine of $25,000.  Another instance of a compliance problem came when a pre-built parlay offer was constructed to include New Jersey-based school, Rutgers. This parlay offer was created for the NJ site by an employee based in Australia, that works for 50% parent company, Entain. Is this how BetMGM for Ontario will be administrated - by Entain employees in Australia?  Something for Canadians to consider. 


Who owns BetMGM Canada & are they reputable?

BetMGM and their Canadian version, BetMGM.ca is a 50/50 join venture between global iGaming giant 'Entain' and 'MGM Resorts'.  Are they reputable operators?  Entain is licensed in several national jurisdictions around the world, and they have been heavily fined by regulators in several regimes. In the UK, before they changed their name from GVC to Entain, they were fined £5.9 million for “systemic failings” at their 'Ladbrokes' & 'Coral' operations in preventing money-laundering and problem gambling. In Australia in 2021, where they operate 'Neds', 'Ladbrokes' & 'Sportingbet', Entain was fined the maximum allowable amount for offering sign-up bonuses worth up to $1,000. Bonuses are banned in Australia.  Potential Ontario customers that want their online bookmaker to be above reproach may take a moment to reconsider choosing BetMGM given the above transgressions. As an update, BetMGM was one of the first Ontario licensed betting brands to receive a fine from the AGCO for its violations. 


BetMGM Canada other iGaming types

In addition to their sportsbook, BetMGM Ontario offers their iCasino vertical and an online poker room.  However, based on what we've seen from their below-par sports betting platform, you'll get a better experience at any of our recommended legal Ontario online casinos.  


BetMGM Ontario preview bottom line: Thumbs down

Unfortunately, brand ambassadors Wayne Gretzky & Jamie Foxx won't be able to make up for a lack of optionality regarding their 'Decimal'-only odds format, a laggy betting platform, a bonus offer that is only useful for those that lose their first bet and a sporting focus that is overly heavy on American sports.

The bottom line is this, if your want a quick betting experience from your mobile or your computer and you only focus on the really popular North American sports, there are several, far superior options for your needs - but if you really want to be with Wayner at BetMGM for some reason, you will at least get good betting market coverage and reasonably competitive odds on the 'big four' leagues, if on platform that in our opinion is sub-standard.

However, if you prefer 'American' odds format (-110) or 'Fractional' format, or you also enjoy any sports and leagues outside the 'big four', BetMGM just should not even be on your radar.  Our top Ontario providers all provide full odds format display optionality and tend to have superior odds margin offerings (better value for you), a wider array of betting markets on these events and they offer live betting in superior fashion.


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