Need a moment to consider things? Visit the Responsible Gambling Council for local help.
DraftKings will be one of many legal Ontario betting sites when the provincial market launches in the spring of 2022. Given how many US broadcasts leak into Canada, this enormous US sports betting and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operator is already able to leverage their massive investments in US sports licensed properties in Canada's largest province. DraftKings is already essentially a household name for Canadian sports bettors given all the US-based TV we consume, but what will their sports betting experience look like in Ontario? We look to their various US state offerings for a preview. We have to say, if the same structural offering migrates north of the border, it is our opinion that there will be many far superior options for Ontario sports bettors. We get into the biggest potential DraftKings Sportsbook drawback first.
In our opinion, this is the biggest problem with the potential DraftKings Ontario sportsbook offering. As you browse the various US state options for DraftKings Sportsbook, if you want to bet from your mobile or tablet, you must download their iOS or Android app. DraftKings does not offer a mobile betting site. We outline 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.
If DraftKings does indeed force Ontario users to download an app for mobile betting, we would not be able to recommend DraftKings as a sportsbook provider in the province. It is so simple to offer users the option of a mobile betting site, and so many other top brands in Ontario will offer players the option to choose their mobile site or their app. 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.
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 they are not in our list of recommended operators for the Province. If you care about your data privacy at all, there are several top Ontario betting operators that offer mobile betting sites that will allow a far more private experience. For the ultimate privacy, use one of these Ontario mobile betting sites from a 'Private' Safari browser session or from an 'Incognito' Chrome session.
DraftKings Ontario odds margins for the 'big four' leagues of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB is in the region of 5%. Where the figure 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 margins 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 will be live and legal in Ontario.
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 severely 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.
If your interest lies outside the 'big four' leagues at all, you would likely be far better suited to play with our recommended Ontario sportsbooks that have far better international sports coverage, given their huge international base of consumers. DraftKings is just too US-centric in this respect. This is unsurprising given that a key DraftKings executive thinks that Canada simply does everything the US does when it comes to betting.
Ontario will allow sportsbook bonus offers but they may not be advertised at all, even on sites like ours. DraftKings does tend to offer new customer bonuses in various US state markets. In the US, the main bonus they have is a 20% bonus, whereas most competitive bonus offers for Canada have a 100% match rate. In other words, to get the DraftKings US headline offer of $1,000, a new player would need to deposit $5,000 and play through all the requirements as set forth in the terms. 100% matched bonus offers would give new players a bonus amount that equals their deposit one-for-one. In other words, DK offers less bang for the buck on their bonus offer compared to most other legal Ontario betting brands.
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. If DraftKings follows suit in Ontario, they will be behind many other betting providers that not only cover esports, but are considered world leaders in esports betting, which is key to attracting a younger demographic that tends to associate with this growing segment of the market.
Assuming DraftKings does not add any aspect of esports betting, if you want to bet on any form of LOL, CS:GO, DOTA2, SCII, Valorant, R6, Rocket League or any other major esports event, whether as your main subject of interest, or as a complement to your traditional sports wagering, DraftKings may not provide this at all in Ontario. Even if they do add some coverage, it is highly doubtful that they can go from zero coverage in the US, to amazing coverage in Ontario. Luckily, we know the top Ontario esports betting providers.
You would think that an obvious strength here for DraftKings would be their Daily Fantasy Sports or DFS vertical. However, in order to enter the Ontario iGaming market for online betting and casino, they actually had to withdraw their DFS vertical 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. Essentially every 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.
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 forces an app down Ontario player throats, we cannot recommend them. However, even if they make a mobile betting site available, they also have several other aspects of their sportsbook offering to improve for Ontario. There will be many superior options in Ontario if the US DK offering migrates north as it stands, especially without improving on aspects like international sports coverage and esports, to name just two points. Given how some within DraftKings seem to think Canada is just a 51st US state when it comes to sports betting tastes, we don't expect much of a change when DK Sportsbook launches in Ontario in 2022.