Bwin is the international betting brand owned by gaming Goliath, Entain. They now also own 100% of Sports Interaction, which serves both the legal Ontario market, as well as the "rest of Canada" market from its jurisdiction in Kahnawake. Entain also holds a 50% stake in the US brand, BetMGM. Both Bwin and BetMGM are now official Ontario betting sites, and essentially run on the same sportsbook platforms, though there are differences. How does the Bwin offering stack up against the rest of the licensed providers that are live in the Ontario market?
While it is a well-known international betting brand, it is not among our favourite offerings for various reasons that we outline below. However, the main reason is that Bwin Ontario only offers one odds format display: Decimal format. Bwin does not offer either American or Fractional formats, which will rule out Bwin for many Ontario players that really prefer these odds formats. (The same problem exists at BetMGM.) We're not sure why they did this, but it is a big problem for both brands as they should be offering odds in Decimal, American and Fractional formats, not just one of these. Let's get to the rest of the review.
You must be physically located in Ontario to play on the Ontario version of Bwin (or any other iGaming Ontario operation for that matter). However, if you are in BC, AB, SK, MB, QC or the Atlantic provinces or the territories, you may play at Bwin's "international" site that is regulated from the Kahnawake gaming jurisdiction, which is on sovereign Mohawk land in Quebec. However, as you will read below, we are not particularly positive about Bwin as sports betting option, given the choices you have. For the online gaming providers that we highlight as the best for those outside Ontario, see our Canadian sportsbook reviews or our recommended Canadian dollar online casinos. You'll find details about superior options, in our humble opinion.
Entain is a massive gaming company, but before the legal Ontario market opened, it only added CAD accounts to its main international site within the previous months. In other words, Canada has not been a market of focus for them.
We're not sure how, but the sportsbook platform that they have developed for Bwin seems slower compared to essentially every other betting site that is live in the Ontario marketplace. Try it for yourself and browse around. You'll notice the golden wheel, spinning as you load various pages.
Other times, the whole site freezes as the page loads in, so you can't even scroll to view the odds and markets until everything loads. In our opinion, Bwin can feel like a website from the early 2000s. Compare this to other top sites that we recommend which are quick, intuitive and seamless to use. Bwin by comparison feels laggy and clunky relative to the top providers.
Entain owns many sports betting and iCasino brands that are regulated in various national regimes around the world. In looking at those operations, we can get a look at how Bwin may operate in the legal Ontario sports betting and iGaming market. Entain owns Australian brand, 'Neds'. In Australia, sports betting promotions are banned completely. Not just advertisements of them, promotions themselves are outlawed. Agents for 'Neds' were found at a Horse Racing track offering banned promotions via QR codes. Entain was made to pay the maximum allowable fine.
Entain also owns UK brands 'Ladbrokes' and 'Coral'. In 2019, before they had changed their name to Entain from 'GVC Holdings', these brands were fined £5.9 million for "systemic failings" to protect problem gamblers. In New Jersey, the Bwin brand itself was fined US$81,000 while under the GVC name because their NJ online casino site 'bwin.party' was accepting wagers from people that had registered for self-exclusion from online gambling in that US state. Jurisdiction by jurisdiction, GVC/Entain has had to pay numerous fines despite being a regulated operator. Can we expect to see similar infractions in Ontario with regard to Bwin? Time will tell.
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On the positive side of things, Bwin offers a mobile betting site. They do not force users to download a sports betting app like some of the US brand entrants to Ontario. Mobile apps have significant data privacy issues and companies like DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet and theScore Bet only offer mobile betting via their apps. Quite clearly, rather than offer the more private option, these other providers want the opportunity to harvest and leverage your user data - where you browse, your movements, whatever the terms of the app define. Bwin doesn't force their app on you if you wish to bet on-the-go. You can play from their mobile site through your Internet browser, which is far more secure in terms of privacy, especially if you use 'Private' or 'Incognito' sessions. Again though, the Bwin platform is laggy compared to our recommended Ontario sportsbooks, but at least they give you the option.
Entain is a big gaming company. Despite what we find to be a sub-standard betting platform, they do offer competitive odds on the main betting markets for the top four leagues for Canadian bettors. This is important for the most frequently played 2-way markets for NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL betting. Odds here are in-line with top Ontario sportsbooks, as you'll find odds margins in the 5% region, which look like 1.91/1,91 or -110/-110, when the odds figures tend to be identical on spreads or totals.
However, for top soccer leagues, surprisingly for a hugely international provider, Bwin odds margins blow out to pretty uncompetitive levels. For the main 1X2 match winner market on the UCL, we found margins in the 6% to 7% range, which is way off the mark, as several top providers in the Ontario market will provide top soccer league 1X2 margins around 3% to 4%. Others have margins near 5%. Given how 'international' they are as a brand, we're not sure how Bwin has such poor odds margins for soccer. Perhaps all those sponsorship deals are getting paid for with increased odds margins. Regardless, if you want solid soccer odds, stay away from Bwin.
As you read this bit about odds margin, know that you should not be thinking that Bwin is only 1% or 2% different than the more competitive providers, and that this is a negligible difference. This would be an incorrect assumption. When a competitive bookmaker has 3% margin on a soccer match, and Bwin has 6% margin, Bwin is not keeping 3% more - they are keeping 100% more. This is how you need to think about 'sportsbook hold'.
These uncompetitive margins continue for other 'international' sports like cricket and rugby where a 7% margin is often used, which is about 40% higher than our top-rated Ontario sportsbooks for the same events. Lower tier sports leagues also have really high odds margins, so anything below the upper most leagues in a given sport will have 7% margins or higher at Bwin, even for the main betting markets, let alone for the available prop bets.
Somehow at the time of our review, under one of the largest gaming companies in the world, Bwin did not offer esports betting at all from a computer. Not on their international betting site, or on any of their nationally regulated sites in Europe. Given the explosion of esports and esports betting, we're not sure how this has happened - but they don't care to offer it just yet. Perhaps they just need to integrate their recent purchase of esports betting site, 'Unikrn' into their platform. You can however access their esports betting via mobile though. We have no idea why you can access from one but not the other. For better esports coverage and access from all devices, see our top Ontario esports betting sites that all offer incredible esports wagering coverage and odds.
For Ontario, Bwin accepts Visa, Mastercard, Instadebit, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Interac Online (compatible with TD and RBC only, Interac e-transfers (for all others) MuchBetter and paysafecard. (Remember, use of credit cards at gambling sites in Canada, including Ontario are treated as 'Cash Advances' - so interest accrues from the moment of the transaction, even if you normally pay your balances in full every month. Use debit, transfer or prepaid methods for lower fees.)
As part of iGaming company Entain, Bwin Ontario offers its players access to both iCasino and online poker verticals. While they will be one of several legal Ontario online casinos once the market opens officially in April 2022, there will be many options that will offer more intuitive, smoother platforms with a better selection of games. It's not just their sports betting offering that we find to be below-par. Remember, we could refer you to each and every gaming company, but we only do that with the companies we recommend to our Ontario and Canadian audiences.
Want an amazingly fast and intuitive betting platform? You can do better than Bwin, which can be described as laggy at best, in our opinion.
Want to get really competitive odds? You can do better than Bwin, which has some of the highest margins (aka sportsbook hold) that we've seen for such a large gaming brand.
In the end as an Ontario sports bettor, you can do much better than Bwin.
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