Yes, Royal Panda is a legal online sportsbook and casino for Ontario. Boy, their panda graphics really are cute. Seriously, who doesn't love a panda bear? However beyond their cuddly-looking mascot, if sports betting is going to be your primary type of gaming in Ontario, in our opinion, we would strongly recommend that you look elsewhere. When we looked to review their site, we encountered a clunky interface, which was slow to load, wasn't tailored for the Ontario player, and offered uncompetitive odds. Not a great combination when you have so many legal Ontario betting sites from which to choose. We'll get into it in more detail.
Royal Panda Grade
|• Sluggish sportsbook site.|
|• Poor odds, even for popular betting markets in top leagues.|
|• Not well-tailored for Ontario tastes.|
|• Poor layout from all devices.|
Yes. Royal Panda operates its "off shore" or "grey market" site for the rest of Canada, from the Malta Gaming Authority, which is home to many reputable international gaming brands. So if you are in BC, AB, SK, MB, QC, the Atlantic provinces or the Territories, you can play on this "en-ca" version of their site. However, just because you can play at Royal Panda from the rest of Canada, outside Ontario, it doesn't mean that you should. Their Ontario and "rest of Canada" sites are very similar, and as we discuss, our Ontario review is not particularly positive. Especially if sports betting will be your primary focus, you should look at our recommended Interac e-transfer betting sites for the rest of Canada. You'll just get a far superior experience in every respect, from odds, to the interface and features at the brands listed there.
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Gambling can be addictive, please play responsibly. Visit ConnexOntario.ca for help. Eligible iGames conducted & managed by iGO are only available to those physically present in Ontario.
In Ontario, Royal Panda supports payments via Interac, Visa, Mastercard and iDebit via MuchBetter. (The same methods are available for players across Canada on their Malta-based site.)
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Royal Panda launched originally in 2014. For several years, Royal Panda built a solid base of mainly casino players via their Malta-based site. This included players across Canada. In 2018, Royal Panda was acquired by online casino operator LeoVegas for a purchase price of 60 million euros, plus a potential earnout payment of a further 60 million euros. If you've read our LeoVegas review, you'll know we're not a fan of that sportsbook for several reasons. Then, in May 2022, MGM Resorts struck a deal to acquire Leo Vegas, (and thus also Royal Panda) for US$607 million. MGM is 50% owner of BetMGM, and if you've read our BetMGM review, you know we're not a fan of the way they've decided to market themselves in Ontario. From our perspective, Royal Panda has been part of two online gambling companies, and for both of which, we are not fans.
Similar to their sibling brand LeoVegas, Royal Panda makes really poor use of your screen real estate. Imagine you are on your mobile, tablet or computer, and you load up any of the events for NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB betting. How many betting markets would you hope to be on screen for each game, within the list of upcoming games? Most betting sites will have at least the three major markets: the moneyline (match winner), the main handicap or spread market, and the main totals market or over/under. This is at a minimum. If on your larger display devices, some sites will have even more markets on-screen or provide more information about the given matchup, making proper use of your screen size - but not at Royal Panda.
Royal Panda provides you with one betting market. One! You need to click or tap the game matchup itself to look at all the available markets for the given matchup. This makes adding picks to your bet slip far more of a pain compared to most sportsbooks, having to delve into each event to add what would otherwise be very popular betting markets as added from the main league screen. From most other Ontario sportsbooks, you can create popular parlays without ever having to get down to the given match level of navigation. This is just such a poor design from a user experience perspective at Royal Panda.
Do you know what top sportsbook brands do for their dedicated Ontario or "rest of Canada" betting platforms? They make it really easy for Ontarian & Canadian players to find the events that are most popular. What do these people bet on the most? The answer to that question should shape how the top sites & apps looks and behave. Go to the home screen and you'll already find a mix of the most bet upon events. In Ontario, this could be a mix of Leafs or Raptors games along with some other NHL or NBA games on the day. If it is NFL season, these games always get pushed out front also. If early morning time on the weekend, perhaps Premier League matches populate much of the screen. There is none of this timely push of important events to the home screen at Royal Panda for Ontario or Canada. Instead you get some weird mix of Eurocentric events pushed to the home screen.
Furthermore, beyond a tailored homepage, top brands provide convenience links for the most popular leagues, like the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, EPL, UCL and so on. Incredibly, Royal Panda actually does not do this. You are forced to search for your league of choice only after you click a given sport icon button.
While certain sport icons are prioritised with a degree of common sense, once you open the list of leagues, this list often prioritises far more obscure leagues, which are pushed to the top of the list, which forces you to look much harder for the most popular leagues than you should have to. Tap "basketball" and we get events for the Eurocup, forcing us to scroll for the NBA, when NBA and NCAA should be at the top. Tap "soccer" and somehow, with Premier League, MLS and Champions League games upcoming in the next hours during our review, as top priority, we were shown lower division English matches. Incredibly poor design again. At least they call it "Hockey" and not "Ice Hockey" - we'll given them credit for that.
Whether in Ontario, or from the rest of Canada, when it comes to the most popular betting markets for the most popular leagues, the top sportsbook brands tend to offer odds that include a margin or "sportsbook hold" of about 5%. This means that 5% of all monies wagered on the given betting market will be kept by the bookie, given the odds they put out. For markets like an NBA or NFL point spread or total (over/under) these odds tend to look like 1.90/1.90 or -110/110 for Decimal and American odds format respectively.
However, Royal Panda posts odds of 1.85/1.87 or -120/-114 for these key markets. This reflects an odds margin or "sportsbook hold" of nearly 8%. This means that for every popular betting market on the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB, Royal Panda is keeping 60% higher amount than most of the other sportsbooks (8% hold divided by 5% hold shows this to us). This makes their odds incredibly uncompetitive on the markets that people in Ontario and Canada play the most. If you want a chance to stay profitable as a bettor, it gets significantly harder when a bookmaker is offering odds that are consistently this low, as your payouts when you win will be commensurably low.
When you look to bet on top soccer events at Royal Panda, the odds do get a little more in line with the competition for the main 1X2, match result betting market, at between 5 and 6 per cent. When you look at top tennis events and the most popular markets, we see margins near 9%, which again is very uncompetitive.
From our review of their online sportsbook, we found no evidence of either a Bet Builder or Same Game Parlay feature, where you might be able to create your own combination bet that consists of legs that are all related to the same event. We also found no evidence of an early cashout feature of any kind, where you can take a partial payout before an event reaches its natural conclusion. If you enjoy either of these kinds of features, bet365 Ontario has by far the most robust versions of these features, as they are available on more sports, leagues and events than any brand that we've seen in the legal Ontario market, or elsewhere.
On the positive side, Royal Panda Ontario does look to use your entire screen width for its online and live dealer casino interface. When you want to browse games, you want to see as much on screen as possible. We don't know why they don't do this for their sports betting, but at least they have done it for their casino games.
They do have a nice array of RNG-based casino games and live dealer games. This is another positive tick for them. Again however, we think they could use a better organisation of their games. Our recommended, official Ontario casino sites have superior layouts and classification of their games so that you can find what you are looking for in a much easier fashion. In the end, just like their sportsbook, Royal Panda has a lot of room for improvement.
The most compelling thing about the Royal Panda gaming experience is their mascot. If you just love to see a cute-as-can-be panda bear as you place your bets or play your casino games, maybe you can look past all of the weaknesses in their offering for Ontario players, and there are lots of weaknesses. Uncompetitive odds, a sportsbook interface which is not tailored to Ontario or Canadian tastes in any way and is completely lacking in any intuitiveness means that there is a lot for a sports bettor to "look past". Things are slightly better in their casino, but if you are looking for a top gaming experience, Royal Panda is just so far down the pecking order when you realize that there are numerous superior platforms on which Ontarians may play.
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