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DraftKings Ontario Review 2024

DraftKings is now one of many fully legal Ontario sportsbooks that launched within the new provincial market. DraftKings has made significant marketing investments in US sports licensed properties and partnerships.  Given the large number of US broadcasts that leak into Canada, they get a significant side-benefit of brand exposure from these investments. DraftKings is already essentially a household name for Canadian sports bettors, given all the US-based TV we consume, but what does their sports betting experience look like in Ontario? 

Although DraftKings hopes to develop a differentiated platform that features much more than betting & gaming, the betting & gaming aspect is what we want to review here, and unfortunately, they essentially just copied & pasted the vast majority of their US offering for Ontario. DraftKings actually lacked Ontario's most-preferred payment method at their launch. Do you like being thought of as living in the 51st US state?  That's how DraftKings appears to think of Ontario. We get into the biggest potential DraftKings Sportsbook drawback first.


  DraftKings Grade

• Mobile betting via app only

• OK odds & coverage of the 'Big Four'

• Zero esports coverage

• Less competitive 'sportsbook hold'  for sports outside the 'Big Four'

• No Interac payments

• Ontario players only

• USA help guide only, nothing dedicated to Ontario


Who can play at DraftKings Sportsbook & Casino in Canada?

First of all, know that DraftKings Sportsbook & Casino for Canada is only available to players that are physically located in Ontario.  If you are located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, the Atlantic provinces or the Territories, DraftKings Sportsbook & Casino is not available for you. (Their DFS games will remain open to you however, if outside of Ontario).  While this may come as a disappointment, know that we have a highly refined list of the top betting sites for Canada, for players located outside Ontario.  All of the brands listed there are owned by best-in-class gaming companies that have gained their license in the legal Ontario market, and support CAD accounts & banking methods like Interac & Instadebit.  Don't risk playing at scammy sportsbooks that advertise a lot but are actually based in Russia or Central America. 

DraftKings has been advertising their online casino offering very heavily.  If you are disappointed to learn that you cannot access this aspect of their gaming product from across the country, see our recommendations for the top Interac casino sites for the rest of Canada (outside Ontario).  You'll find great live casino options, slots and learn which brands even offer completely free play, without registration.


DraftKings Ontario mobile sports betting: app only, no betting site

In our opinion, this is the biggest problem with the DraftKings Ontario sportsbook offering. If you want to bet from your mobile device, you must download their iOS or Android app.  DraftKings does not offer a mobile betting site.  We've outlined serious data privacy concerns that are associated in using any kind of mobile app, let alone Ontario betting apps.  Without a viable mobile betting site as an option, all your mobile usage and movement data could be harvested for commercial purposes by any app publisher as allowed by their terms. 

It is so simple to offer users the option of a mobile betting site, and many other top brands in Ontario offer players the option to choose between the two.  Forcing users to download an app comes from a place of pure greed in order to profit from your data, rather than solely profiting as a gaming operator.  This is unfortunate, because the reality is that the sportsbook technology that DraftKings owns, is actually sold as a business-to-business service to other sportsbooks around the world, and a mobile site is available.  But for their own brand offering to consumers, they prefer to force app usage, which is unfortunate.

DraftKings Ontario appears not to be alone in this regard as US brand entrants FanDuel Ontario, and PointsBet Canada will only offer mobile betting via their apps, not via betting sites.  US sportsbook entrants to the legal market, BetMGM Ontario and BetRivers Ontario will offer mobile betting sites, but only the latter is in our list of recommended operators for the Province.  If you care about your data privacy, all our recommended Ontario betting operators offer you mobile betting sites that will allow a far more private experience, while apps are also available at all except for Sports Interaction.  For the ultimate privacy, use one of these Ontario mobile betting sites from a 'Private' Safari browser session or from an 'Incognito' Chrome session.  


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DraftKings Ontario odds margins

DraftKings Ontario odds margins (or sportsbook hold) for the 'big four' leagues of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB is in the region of 5%.  Where the figures are identical on both sides of a popular 2-way market like a point spread, the odds will look like 1.91/1.91 or -110/-110.  This level of odds margin is typical of most large providers, not super competitive, not below typical.  UFC and boxing margins at DraftKings tend to be near 4% on the main markets, which is competitive.  For top soccer competitions, DraftKings odds margins tend to stay in the 4% to 5% range.  This is reasonably good, as some US sportsbook brands see their margins rise on this relatively less popular sport, DraftKings stays nicely competitive for at least some matches. 

However, once we get beyond soccer, the odds margins for other more internationally popular sports starts to blow out.  On cricket matches for example, popular simple match winner markets are seen in the 8% to 9% range.  For rugby, DraftKings' sportsbook hold can be in the 7% region on English Premiership main betting markets.  Both of these margin rates are not competitive when weighed against some of the more internationally recognized betting brands that are live and legal in Ontario.


DraftKings Ontario sport & league coverage

In terms of the most popular sports and leagues, DraftKings has solid coverage in terms of in-play and pre-match betting markets.  If you are a Canadian bettor that has almost exclusively 'top four' tastes, DK is probably just fine for you. 

However, if any aspect of your sports betting interest spreads to a more 'internationally' popular sport, like cricket, rugby, AFL or otherwise, the coverage of these events is somewhat limited.  Some big events are not covered at all.  Where events are covered, often the event will have very few available betting markets for pre-match or in-play situations.  

On the positive side, from an international perspective, essentially all soccer leagues get covered.  This is better than many US sportsbook brands that might only cover the top five European leagues. So this is a positive tick for DK Ontario.


DraftKings Ontario payment methods: Does DraftKings Sportsbook accept Interac?

Incredibly, DraftKings does not accept Interac, the most popular payment method in Canada & Ontario as used with betting and gaming sites. We're not sure how this is the case, as nearly every other provider knows to accept it - but DraftKings does not, as of the time of writing (last update April 3, 2023).  They do accept PayPal (which is more popular in the US as a sportsbook payment method), but in our opinion, this is the best PayPal betting site in Ontario. Credit cards are also available at DK Ontario, but as we've mentioned many times, credit cards are the most expensive payment option in Ontario for betting sites, since the transactions are deemed "cash advances" which come with high interest charges & fees.  If e-transfers remain your preferred banking option, find the top Interac sportsbooks for Ontario.


DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario customer support

Get 24/7 customer support via live chat, or contact DraftKings via email.  Looking through their "help" pages, they all refer to the US site version, so there is no good applicable help there for Ontario users.  Not awesome.


Where can I play at DraftKings Sportsbook in Canada?

You may register an account from anywhere in the country, but you must be physically located within the province of Ontario to play at DraftKings Sportsbook in Canada.


DraftKings Ontario Esports betting: zero coverage

In the various US states in which DraftKings Sportsbook operates, esports betting is not offered at all, though it is offered by several of their US competitors. Unfortunately, in Ontario, this complete lack of coverage has carried over. Given how DraftKings as a company is trying to be a leader other areas like NFTs and collectibles, which possess a user demographic base that is similar to that of esports, we can't understand why they have not moved to cover it.  Esports is clearly for younger demographic, and Ontario is far ahead of US states in terms of interest. Plus, their company has the technology and ability to integrate esports coverage, they just have not done so.  Very surprising and disappointing. 

So, if you are considering DraftKings as your betting site in Ontario, but you want at least some coverage of LOL, CS:GO, DOTA2, SCII, Valorant, R6, Rocket League or any other major esports event, you will not get it.  Even if they do add some coverage in the period after this review has been written, it is highly doubtful that they can go from zero coverage, to amazing coverage in one step. Luckily, we know the top legal Ontario esports betting providers.


DraftKings Ontario other gaming types

You would think that an obvious strength here for DraftKings would be their Daily Fantasy Sports or DFS gaming vertical. However, in order to enter the Ontario iGaming market for online betting and casino, they actually had to withdraw their DFS gaming in the Province. It is not a real growth driver as things stand, but some players will miss this option.  We do expect DraftKings Ontario look to offer it again when the regulators can set their rules on this gaming type.  DraftKings does offer both online RNG casino games (Random Number Generator) and access to live casino games as run by a real dealer on camera.  Essentially every licensed Ontario sports betting site will also offer legal Ontario online casinos, which include hundreds of slots games, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and many other games.  What DraftKings Ontario will not offer is an online poker room, for games like Texas Hold'em. 


DraftKings Ontario bottom line: less than ideal

DraftKings has its own full stack technology for its sports betting platform.  Plenty of companies other than DraftKings run on the exact same platform and offer a mobile betting site for use from Internet browsers on mobile phones or tablets.  Thus, there is no reason for DraftKings to force Ontario players to use an app, except for the likelihood that DraftKings may simply want access to all the related data that they would be able to harvest through the app itself. When DraftKings makes this choice, we cannot recommend them and it is something we are consistent about in our evaluations.

However, beyond this, they also have several other aspects of their sportsbook offering to improve for Ontario.  DraftKings has a below-average offering for anyone that likes sports outside the so-called "big four" and the entire genre of esports is not covered at all. 

Furthermore, there has been very little effort on the part of DraftKings to make local hires, market in a particularly Canadian way, or even to customise their site or app toward Ontario tastes (They don't even support Interac payments, which is unbelievable for an Ontario operator).  Even compared to other US brands that we do not recommend in our preferred list of operators, they are behind the likes of PointsBet, which has done a far better job in these areas. BetRivers, the lone US brand that we do recommend for Ontario, which has also made local hires and markets a "Canadian product", far exceeds DraftKings in all these areas. Perhaps this is unsurprising, given that a key DraftKings executive thinks that Canada simply does everything the US does when it comes to betting, which is why they have made no effort to make themselves "more Canadian" in almost any way compared to their US product or marketing.

Given how some people within DraftKings seem to think that Canada is just a 51st US state when it comes to sports betting tastes, we don't expect much of an improvement in the months after their launch. If this sounds good to you, have at it - but you can see why they are not among our recommended brands for Ontario.  


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