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Top sportsbooks coming to Ontario's legal market


FanDuel Ontario Sportsbook Review 2022

While FanDuel is essentially a US-facing sportsbook and DFS brand, it is actually owned by Flutter Entertainment plc, which is one of the largest iGaming and betting companies in the world and is actually headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.  Flutter shares trade on both the London and Dublin stock exchanges.  FanDuel Sportsbook was live in Ontario on April 4, 2022.  While would have hoped FanDuel would create a bespoke offering for its Ontario audience, they have clearly copied much of their US one without really thinking about how Canadians & Ontarians differ from American players.  How does FanDuel Sportsbook compare to other fully legal Ontario betting sites?  Unfortunately, while the overall offering looks pretty good, from our perspective there are several important drawbacks that keep us from recommending it to our readers, and the first has to do with their mobile sportsbook.

 

Who is allowed to play at FanDuel Sportsbook in Canada?

From April 4, 2022 players that are 19+ and are physically located in the province of Ontario will be able to play on FanDuel Canada's sportsbook platforms.  You need not be a resident of Ontario, you just need to be located in Ontario when you access their service.  People in Canada, but located in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan, PEI, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut will not be able to play at FanDuel Canada's Sportsbook.  Their Daily Fantasy games will remain open to players across Canada however, as DFS is not regulated in the same way as sports betting and iCasino products.

 

FanDuel Ontario Mobile sportsbook: app only, no betting site

Like many of the US brands that are attempting the move into Ontario, FanDuel will likely only offer mobile sports betting via their mobile Ontario sportsbook app, not via a betting site as accessed via your mobile Internet browser.  If you try to access their site from a tablet or mobile, they will not allow access to the site, simply telling you that you must download the app to your device in order to continue.  With all the mobile app data privacy concerns that people have these days, we cannot understand why they would not simply offer the option of a mobile betting site, which would offer far more user privacy. 

FanDuel Ontario will not be the only US sportsbook entrant that forces app usage for mobile betting, as PointsBet & DraftKings will also likely require it.  BetMGM and BetRivers are US entrants that will not force app usage for mobile betting, but these two brands are not in our list of the top sportsbook operators for the Province. 

Given that FanDuel's parent company operates several international betting brands that offer the option of full mobile betting sites alongside mobile betting apps, there really is no excuse to force Ontario customers to play via an app only.  That in itself is the answer, their parent company likely want to capitalise on the value of your data, which they can only do through an app, not if you play through an Internet browser - so they take away that choice. 

If any Ontario-based players have data privacy concerns, there is no reason to feel they need to play at a provider that forces the use a mobile app. Several leading Ontario sports betting providers like betsafe, bet365, Betway, ComeOn! and many others will give their customers the option to play via their mobile betting site, or via their apps.  FanDuel and their American brethren likely simply want that extra bit of value from their customers in harvesting their data.  Given this likely lack of optionality over mobile betting, there is no way that we would be able to recommend the FanDuel Sportsbook to Ontario players.  We hope they make a mobile betting site available when the market opens.

 

FanDuel Sportsbook in Colorado prompts users to download their app the moment a user tries to add a bet to the bet slip from their mobile site. Why not just allow a full mobile betting site like other companies? FanDuel wants to access your data, only available when you use an app. Will they do this in Ontario?
 

FanDuel Ontario launches with 'American odds' format only

We actually can't believe this happened - it is so ridiculous. FanDuel is owned by Flutter Entertainment plc, one of the biggest gaming companies in the world, which also owns the BetFair brand. BetFair for a time also served Canada from the 'grey market', so they have experience in Canada. They should know that Canadian bettors are mainly split between the use of 'American' and 'Decimal' odds formats, yet FanDuel at launch only offered 'American' format - users could not even switch between formats as you would expect as found at every other betting site.

Proline for example has only ever existed using 'Decimal' - so any long-time Proline player looking at potentially playing at FanDuel would have to learn a new odds format in order to play there, which is no small task.  Or, the simpler solution would be to choose one of the legal Ontario betting apps or sites that offer 'Decimal' format.  This kind of mistake is really inexcusable and it really shows that the folks at FanDuel think that Canadians are just Americans that live a little bit to the north.  

 

FanDuel is licensed in Ontario, but even still, can you trust them?

FanDuel is the main DFS and sportsbook brand in North America for Flutter Entertainment, which runs sports betting brands around the world in many national iGaming and online sports betting regimes.  In Australia, Flutter is a market leader with their 'SportsBet' brand.  They recently acquired another Australian bookmaker, 'BetEasy' in order to get their market share up to 26% in that country.  While they are interested in market dominance, they did not appear to be particularly concerned with respecting their customers wishes when it came to marketing spam via email and text. 

In 2022, SportsBet (Flutter) was fined A$3.7million for 150,000 spam emails and text messages that promoted their gambling products, even after their customers had asked to unsubscribe.  So even though an operator may be regulated, you could ask yourself questions like:

• Are they interested in operating as a sustainable iGaming company?

• Do they respect their customers? 

• Are they worried about marketing in a responsible way?

Flutter's issues don't stop there. In 2018, in perhaps the most regulated market in the world, the UK, their brands 'PaddyPower' and 'BetFair' were fined £2.2 million for social responsibility and money laundering failures.

The evidence from the above stories may indeed give you pause. Which operators are particularly interested in operating in a sustainable, responsible way? We would say that Nordic operators Betsson AB and Kindred Group with their respective brands, Betsafe and Unibet, head the class in this regard. They both are very transparent in their approach to minimize revenue from problem gambling, and both brands will be licensed in Ontario.

 

FanDuel Ontario Sportsbook odds & margins

For the main betting markets on the 'big four' North American leagues, FanDuel tends to offer odds margins in the 5% range.  When the odds are equal on both potential outcomes, the odds will look like -110/-110 or 1.91/1.91.  This is typical of most brands within the market for these key leagues.  The odds margins (or sportsbook hold) are not the best, but they certainly are not bad.  Of course the odds can shift so that the odds are not equal for both potential outcomes, but the margin will stay in the 5% region for these events.  On the positive side of things, this 5% margin is carried into top soccer league betting markets as well.  Some of the US sportsbook brands don't  take enough wagering action on this sport, and raise their margins accordingly.  5% is not the most competitive margin for soccer that we can find, but certainly this is more competitive than many operators that will be in Ontario.  The 5% margins even carried into other 'international' sports like rugby.  So in the end, know that if you select FanDuel, you will get reasonably competitive odds margins no matter your sport or league of choice, which is a positive tick for them.

 

FanDuel Canada's Sportsbook betting coverage

Even though FanDuel is obviously targeted to a 'typical' North American customer, we can see their international heritage in their betting coverage across sports.  Owned by Flutter Entertainment plc, which is headquartered in Ireland and owns several UK, European & Australian sports betting brands, we can see how proper coverage of a wider array of sports can leak through into the FanDuel offering.  This is a positive for fans of 'international' sports like rugby, cricket and Aussie Rules and much more.  While some US brands that enter Canada will barely cover these sports at all, often with only very basic betting markets (like BetMGM), FanDuel offers excellent coverage with many pre-match and in-play betting markets, another positive tick for their potential Ontario sportsbook offering.

 

FanDuel Canada's Sportsbook bonus offer

Ontario does not allow for the advertisement of bonus offers. However, from early experience, we can say that the Ontario bonus offer will not be at the same level that we can see in their various US state markets, where they do tend to offer a 'risk free' bet worth up to $1,000.  This is is not our favourite kind of new customer offer, as it only comes into play if the customer loses their first bet.  How many people are going to make a first bet of $1,000 in order to get that value back, even if they do lose?  If they win the bet, they get nothing out of the promo.  We prefer to see offers that actually give value to the customer purely based on their deposit, not one that is contingent on losing a first bet.  

 

FanDuel Sportsbook approach to win limits & withdrawal limits

FanDuel Sportsbook does not call out any specific withdrawal limitations in terms of the maximum amount of money that can be withdrawn within certain time periods. Some sportsbooks outline value limits per day, per week, per month and/or per year. This should be a good sign, especially compared to the relatively young Canadian sportsbook providers like Bet99 and BetRegal that quote very low withdrawal limits as associated to various time periods.

In terms of maximum win limits, the US versions of FanDuel's Sportsbook tend to quote numbers around USD 1 million on all the top leagues across the major North American and European soccer leagues. Win limits in this region should be high enough for just about any high stakes, VIP bettor. The full table of win limits by sport, league and related betting markets can be found in the given 'terms of use', as found through a link at the base of their web site. 

 

FanDuel Sportsbook esports coverage: none

Here is another aspect of FanDuel's US offering that has been copied and pasted for Ontario. Although esports is available for betting in various US state jurisdictions (it is covered by other US betting sites), FanDuel does not offer esports betting coverage in the US. Esports & esports betting is just not that popular in the USA yet.  However, Canada and Ontario is not the US.  Many people in Ontario and Canada love esports and esports betting and FanDuel Ontario has zero esports coverage. Zero.  Rather than tailor their solution to Ontario like they said they would, again FanDuel simply pasted its US esports coverage - zero.  If you wish to find a top esports betting provider for Ontario, several of our recommended licensed providers are esports betting leaders the world over.

 

FanDuel Canada's other available gaming types

One would have though that the obvious strength for FanDuel here would be their Daily Fantasy Sports or DFS gaming vertical.  However, along with DraftKings, they have had to withdraw their DFS offering in Ontario. It may return in the future once regulations catch up to this different kind of gaming vertical.  Like every other Ontario sportsbook, FanDuel launched with a legal Ontario online casino that allows users to have access to both online RNG casino games as well as live dealer games. 

 

FanDuel Canada Sportsbook bottom line: not a great start

FanDuel began their journey in Ontario by treating Canadians as Americans as reflected in their odds format implementation at launch. This will probably be rectified as it is easy to do, but it does not take away from the fact that they did not do their homework. Even though they said they would not copy and paste their US sportsbook offering, it is something that they clearly did.  They also only allow mobile betting via their app, with no mobile betting site - leaving no option for users that have privacy concerns. FanDuel Ontario also has zero esports coverage, which shows zero deference to Canada's exploding esports scene.  Overall, it has not been a great start in many respects. While FanDuel will have solid traditional sports coverage and a decent betting platform, their overall offering and respect for the Ontario market has shown to be severely lacking. They will rely instead on big sporting partnerships in order to paper over these cracks.

 

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