BetRivers, FanDuel, European Operators Awarded Licenses in Ontario

Ontario regulator ramps up the number of licensed internet gaming operators ahead of the April 4 launch. One licensee hints that tax rate will be 20% of GGR.
Toronto skyline is seen against pink sky. CN Tower and skyscrapers rise up from the shore of Lake Ontario. Ontario, Canada's biggest province, is set to launch its new regulated iGaming market on April 4.
By
March 11, 2022

The receipt of our registration in Ontario is an important milestone that demonstrates our commitment to operating only in legalized markets where we pay local taxesRegulators in Canada’s biggest province were busy adding to its list of licensed internet gaming operators this week, just over three weeks from the April 4 launch date for regulated online poker, casino gaming, and sports betting in Ontario.

One of the operators to receive a license this week said it expects Ontario will ultimately levy a 20% tax rate on gross gaming revenue (GGR). The province has yet to officially announce a tax rate.

As of 10 a.m. EST Friday, March 11, 2022, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) had added six gaming operators, for a total of 12:

BetRivers is a brand of Rush Street Interactive (RSI) that offers online casino games and a sportsbook. RSI was issued its internet gaming operator license on Wednesday, according to the AGCO.

RSI could possibly offer a poker product through BetRivers and its other brand, SugarHouse, in the near future, considering the company recently acquired the Run It Once Poker (RIO) platform and onboarded its development team in a $5.8 million cash-and-stock deal announced last week.

A spokesperson for RSI did not immediately respond to questions over whether BetRivers would initially offer poker to players in Ontario.

“The receipt of our registration in Ontario is an important milestone that demonstrates our commitment to operating only in legalized markets where we pay local taxes, and we are grateful for the trust of the AGCO,” said Richard Schwartz, CEO of RSI. “We are now one step closer to launching the BetRivers real-money online casino and sportsbook in Ontario.”

RSI said it was working with the AGCO to satisfy any remaining regulatory requirements and plans to launch BetRivers in Ontario on April 4. In preparation, BetRivers created a pre-registration page for players to add their email addresses and receive updates on the launch of its online casino and sportsbook products.

Meanwhile, FanDuel was issued its license for online casino gaming and sports betting on Friday.

European Operators Also Joining

Three European operators were awarded licenses from the AGCO on Thursday.

Unibet, a brand owned by Kindred Group, has a Canada-facing website for pre-registration up and running. Malta-based Unibet has online sportsbooks live in six US states: Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Licensee Brand Date Issued
Annexio Limited LottoGo March 1
FanDuel Canada FanDuel March 11
Fitzdares Canada Limited Fitzdares March 10
LeoVegas Gaming PLC LeoVegas March 10
NSUS Limited WSOP March 2
PointsBet Canada PointsBet February 3
Rivalry Ontario Rivalry March 8
Royal Panda Limited Royal Panda March 10
Rush Street Interactive BetRivers March 9
Score Digital theScore Bet February 4
Unibet Ontario Unibet March 10
VHL Ontario Limited 888 March 1

The tax rate is expected to end up at 20%, calculated by GGR.LeoVegas Mobile Gaming Group, a subsidiary of Sweden’s LeoVegas AB, was awarded licenses for two of its brands — LeoVegas and Royal Panda. The subsidiary said it had applied for both licenses in its Q4 2021 investor presentation on February 11.

In a legal update included in LeoVegas’ quarterly report for Q4 2021, the subsidiary said it was “one of several operators” to have participated in talks with provincial regulators on the structure of Ontario’s new gaming regimen. “The tax rate is expected to end up at 20%, calculated by GGR,” it said.

LeoVegas is not currently operating in the US but has a market access agreement with Caesars to launch in New Jersey. It also plans to launch its Blue Guru gaming studio in the US in 2022. In its Q4 presentation, LeoVegas said it hoped to gain “valuable knowledge and experience from Canada when expanding into the US.”

Fitzdares, a privately-held bookmaker based in London, was also issued a license.

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