BetRivers is the US sportsbook brand entry into the legal Ontario market that we like the most. The brand is is owned by Rush Street Interactive, which is headquartered in Chicago. RSI shares trade on the NYSE. To their credit, they have made several local hires in Canada as they prepared to launch. We like the Kambi sports betting platform upon which the BetRivers brand operates.
In our opinion, the platform has been implemented very well by BetRivers for Ontario, this is not always a given. While, it utilizes some design elements that we would prefer were removed, we can explain and understand the reasons for these elements. Overall though, on a very good rendition of the Kambi sportsbook platform, with solid odds value, event coverage and betting tools, BetRivers needs a serious look by Ontario bettors. Furthermore, if you love using PayPal, BetRivers is the only one of the legal Ontario betting sites we recommend that supports PayPal payments.
|BetRivers is one of only seven Ontario online sportsbooks that we recommend.|
You must be physically located in Ontario to play at BetRivers Canada. If you are in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Atlantic Canada or the Territories, BetRivers is not available to you for play. For the best online gaming options outside Ontario, read our Canada betting site reviews or see our recommended Interac online casinos. There, all listed brands are also in the legal Ontario market, but still have "international" sites that serve those outside Ontario with CAD accounts and banking methods like Interac & Instadebit. We only list top-tier gaming brands - don't risk stumbling onto a scammy betting or casino site that is based in Russia or Eastern Europe, that advertises a lot within European soccer matches or runs free-to-play dot-net ads on TV in Canada.
BetRivers provides Ontario players with the ability to live stream various events including MLB, tennis and more. Like most betting sites these days, BetRivers offers the ability to cash out your bet before the event has ended for a partial win. They call this feature their 'Buy Out' feature which is accessed in their 'My Bet History' section.
The technology that goes into allowing for a same game parlay kind of feature, does not always get applied to all leagues and sports at every operator. On the Kambi platform however, BetRivers offers same game parlay bets on all the big leagues, including the NHL - which could be a must-have feature if you are hockey-first sort of bettor.
BetRivers odds margins or 'sportsbook hold' for the biggest betting markets tend to vary depending on how near we are to the event in terms of time. If the event is a day or more away, the margins seem to be in the region of 5% for the most popular markets within top events for the main four sports from Canadian perspective. For example, typical 2-way betting handicap markets tend to be in the region of 1.91 or -110 on either side of the result for the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB. However, on the day of the event, for some very popular markets, like an NFL point spread, margins at BetRivers can get closer to 3%, which means better odds for you. Most sportsbooks tend to stay around 5% to 6% on these markets. Margins for main markets on less popular events at BetReivers creep up to the 6% mark, which is in line with most sportsbooks.
When we start to look at top soccer events, odds margins at BetRivers tend to vary by league. For EPL betting, the 1X2 market can have margins between 2% and 3%, which is extremely competitive, a positive tick for them. However, for Serie A, the UCL and other top European leagues, the odds margins can blow out to 5% or 6%. Again, margins may also get lower based on how close the match is in terms of time. Obviously, the EPL is very popular, but with so many Italian soccer fans in Ontario, BetRivers might look to tweak this to offer better value here, as some other sportsbooks in the Ontario market will offer better margins.
When we start to look at some more 'international' sports like cricket or rugby that are popular within UK and South Asian immigrant communities in Ontario, BetRivers tends to offer odds margins that are not particularly competitive, often in the 7% range. Other top brands in the Ontario market will be in the 5% region on the main betting markets for these sports.
In the end, BetRivers tries to be pretty competitive for their odds on the markets and events that are going to be most popular in Ontario, which is great. However, you may need to watch their prices and compare odds if you are constantly looking for solid value.
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Gambling can be addictive, please play responsibly. Visit ConnexOntario.ca for help. Eligible iGames conducted & managed by iGO are only available to those physically present in Ontario.
The BetRivers.ca mobile site loads quickly. When we would go to add a bet to our bet slip, this action was actually animated. The button for our bet changed colour, then appeared to fly down the screen to be added to the bet slip at the base of the display, rather than simply adding the bet to the bet slip in an instant. A bit quirky.
Several of the US entrants to the market will only offer mobile betting via apps, and do not offer a mobile site. BetRivers.ca does not force you to download their mobile app in order to play from your phone like these other providers, but they will likely prompt you to do so from their mobile site. Having an option here is something we really like.
On the positive side, BetRivers.ca will not force you to download an app in order to play from your tablet, which is far better in terms of your data privacy. (Other new US brands to the Ontario market like FanDuel & PointsBet require you to download their Ontario betting apps for mobile play.) Otherwise, navigating sports and leagues on their version of the Kambi platform is clean and efficient.
They also know that Ontario players enjoy betting on their home events, whether for or against, and as such all Ontario-based teams get pushed to the homepage to make these games very easy to find every time you load their site.
The one element that we personally could do without is the prominent 'news feed' of 'winners'. We do not find it to be of any benefit whatsoever. This is displayed on devices that are wider than a mobile phone. We actually find this design element to be a little distracting. The news feed element is actually a psychological tool used by BetRivers (and other gaming sites) in order to get new players to sign up to their site, even though they might not be overly familiar with their brand. BetRivers does not have much brand heritage in Ontario yet, as it never operated in the 'grey market'.
A recent research paper showed that players search for social cues and proximity when looking to select a gaming site. This kind of news feed display element is meant to satisfy this human desire by saying 'Hey, look at all the other people where you live that have not only signed up, but have won five bets in a row.' It is meant to push you from a place of thinking 'I'm not so sure about BetRivers as a brand', to thinking that you can go along with the crowd, that the brand is OK and that 'people like me are winning'.
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BetRivers accepts PayPal, Interac, Visa & Mastercard. PayPal is more popular for gaming payments in the USA, so it is less available at Ontario operators. However, if PayPal is your preferred online payment method, over and above methods like Interac or Instadebit, BetRivers is the only Ontario betting site that we recommend, that supports PayPal. (Note that credit card payments to gaming sites from Ontario are treated as cash advances, so you will incur interest charges and higher fees compared to debit & transfer options. BetRivers does not set these rules.)
This bit is really for those that bet big. For most people, BetRivers can handle your action, absolutely no problem.
For those that do bet big, from their 'Sports betting rules', BetRivers notes that they may limit any player to a maximum payout of $250,000 on any parlay or combination wager (this would be the profit on the bet - not including the stake funds). They then also refer readers to their sport-specific limits further down the page for single wagers. There you can find $50,000 win limits for all the major four US sports, plus top level soccer. The amounts are smaller on less popular leagues and sports.
A $50k limit for NFL, MLB and NBA bets is not particularly high in comparison to our top two ranked Ontario betting sites. Again, this is not really a criticism of BetRivers, as only a very small number of bettors need seriously high payout limits.
In our preview of BetRivers and their US site, they had almost no esports coverage. Thankfully, in Ontario, this is not the case as they cover all the main esports with at the very least a match winner market, if not a very wide range of markets. We found in excess of 25 markets fo various CS:GO matches, which is a very good level of coverage. While BetRivers might not have the best esports betting in Ontario, if you just need solid esports coverage that complements your main sports betting activities, you should be more than fine.
BetRivers offers a full suite of branded slots games, table games, live dealer games including game shows. Their casino platform is really well-organised with a row of icons that allow you to navigate to your games of choice, including by the given game publisher. Find games by: Tourney (Tournaments), 'Hot' games (popular at the moment), live-dealer (where a real person is running your game on camera), Table Games, Slots, BlackJack, Video Poker, or games by publishers, Slingo, NetEnt, Scientific Games, Konami, IGT, Red Tiger, Everi, AGS or Lightning. BetRivers is the only Ontario PayPal casino that we recommend, and they have a great option for you here. However, you may be interested to read our complete, but refined list of the best legal Ontario online casinos, all of which support payments via Interac & Instadebit. There are some brands there that you may already know and love.
While Rush Street Interactive is a Chicago-based firm that operates its iGaming brands in regulated markets across North America, they have hired for many positions in Canada in order to have a local presence and to help tailor their product to local tastes. In November 2021, we counted over 20 positions for which they were hiring, including many developers and engineers. In order to establish their brand in all key markets, they also sign sports personalities to operate within the BetRivers podcast network. They signed former TSN anchor Dan O'Toole to run a new weekly podcast called 'Boomsies' in order to introduce their brand to Canadians and Ontarians.
In August 2022, they also moved to sign another former TSN anchor in Natasha Staniszewski. Then in October, they moved again to sign iconic sports radio broadcaster Bob McCown and add his podcast to their network. Bob especially brings exposure of a key demographic to BetRivers, as he speaks well to an older audience that may have not yet been acquired by operators during the past 15-plus years of the "grey market's" existence. Thus Bob's loyal following may bring BetRivers a number of Ontario VIP sports betting and casino customers.
Yes they have, but in a very minor fashion. Most regulated online gambling companies have been met with compliance issues in one form or another. The real question is whether or not Rush Street Interactive is a good faith operator that fixes mistakes when out of compliance, or are they an operator that looks to skirt the rules in the name of profit, then pay the fines and face the penalties after the fact?
We would say that RSI comes into the former category as a good faith operator, as there are very few examples to find in terms of being out of compliance within their various iGaming jurisdictions. The lone example that we found had to do with a system failure in their New Jersey online casino brand, 'PlaySugarHouse', which mistakenly allowed underage players to register and wager.
RSI found the problem and self-reported to the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, which then proceeded to fine them US$30,000. Given the wide range of offenses and fines that we have seen in the industry, this one honestly seems rooted in a mistake, which was quickly rectified, as opposed to examples from other companies that are rooted in a desire to maximize profit at the expense of vulnerable players. RSI's otherwise clean record indicates an operator that is interested in regulatory compliance and treating its players with the highest level of respect.
RSI was founded in 2012 by gaming industry veterans. In 2016, they launched their first online casino in New Jersey, as iGaming was allowed there even before online sports betting, when PASPA fell in 2018. RSI was then the first online casino operator to launch in Pennsylvania. RSI's BetRivers.com was the first online gaming site to launch in the Indiana, Illinois and Colorado state markets. They are also the first US company to gain a license to operate in Latin America with licenses in both of Mexico and Colombia. RSI even secured a Spanish La Liga partnership for the Colombian market, since so many Colombian stars play in that league. In 2022, RSI will be live in 13 US state markets. Ontario will be their first Canadian market, as it is the only province to have created a regulated iGaming market framework.
Overall, BetRivers.ca and its apps, should you choose to use them, offer a solid sports betting experience. With some pretty excellent sports coverage and a feature-rich platform, they have assembled a betting product that will appeal to many players in Ontario. Solidly competitive odds, same game parlays that include the NHL, live streaming of events and of course the choice to play on a betting site or an app, there is not much more you could hope for from a sportsbook operator in Ontario. Definitely a solid option.
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