October 30, 2021
On September 9, 2021, the AGCO released their final sport and event betting standards for igaming. Directly at the top of this important document, it says that: "These standards will apply to all sports, esports, novelty, betting exchange, and fantasy sports products." This will have come as very good news to many operators that are looking at the possibility of becoming Ontario licensed betting sites.
Many of the top brands that have been serving Canada from the 'grey market' and will no doubt want to serve Ontario, already have world-class esports betting event coverage and platforms. They will be ecstatic that they will be able to leverage this important gaming vertical in Canada's most populous province.
Esports betting is an area of explosive growth in the gaming industry. Esports itself has been described as the next billion dollar industry. Driven mostly by young gamers and gaming fans, esports betting is seen by gambling companies as a way to engage with a generation that is now less engaged with traditional sports and thus less engaged in sports betting.
In 2019, the esports betting market has been estimated to be worth approximately US$1 billion, but some expect it to grow to US$13 billion by 2025. While many are excited by the potential for growth and the obvious demographic trends that would certianly favour esports betting providers, esports has been dogged by match-fixing scandals. These scandals and a perceived lack of sufficient sporting governance has led some gambling regulators to prevent their licensed operators from offering wagering on esports events. Examples of limited esports betting or outright bans of it can be found in both Germany and the Netherlands.
Rivalry.com, an esports-focused online gambling company that operates from the Isle of Man jurisdiction, but is actualy run from offices in Toronto and is listed on the TSX Venture exchange has applied for an iGaming Ontario license. If Ontario had taken a more conservative approach over esports wagering like German and Dutch regulators have shown, we are not sure that they would have applied to serve Ontario in a fully legal market. Given the growth of esports, the establishment of esports-first betting sites like Rivalry, and the varied coverage of esports at traditional online sportsbooks, it is can be difficult to identify which operators actually cover esports well. This is why we created a list of the top legal Ontario esports betting sites.