I am truly excited that all three of our Party brands are entering the Ontario market … As a Canadian and Toronto-native myself, I am particularly proud of this moment in our company’s history. Two Entain brands — bwin and partypoker Ontario — launched their Ontario online poker apps on Tuesday. The pair will team up with BetMGM Poker Ontario, which launched its poker room one week earlier, creating a three-skin online poker network in the province. The trio will be able to share liquidity across cash games and tournaments.
The entry of the Entain brands means that poker enthusiasts in Ontario now have four operators and two networks to choose from. 888poker Ontario launched one day before BetMGM Poker Ontario, the joint venture between Entain and MGM Resorts International.
In a statement, partypoker said it was “delighted to open a fully-licensed poker room to players based in Ontario,” and said it was in the process of moving players based in the province to its new on.partypoker.ca platform. It was also converting player cash balances to Canadian Dollars (CAD).
Both bwin and party were issued one-year licenses by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) on April 1, just days before the province’s market for online poker, casino gaming, and sports betting launched.
The launch of partypoker was expected — pokerfuse reported last week that it would launch on April 12 and that the operator would partner with BetMGM — but the launch of bwin Poker Ontario is surprising, as there was nothing in the AGCO license that indicated a domain for poker and, with party’s licensure, it was assumed that bwin would only roll out products in the online casino and sports betting verticals.
PokerStars and GGPoker are Also Available via the Grey Market
Poker fans in Ontario will also continue to have access to PokerStars and GGPoker via their offshore licenses, The two operators have started the licensing process with the AGCO and iGaming Ontario (iGO), which is responsible for overseeing Ontario iGaming when offered through private operators.
Ontario regulators are allowing PokerStars and GGPoker to continue offering poker in the province as they have been doing, while they complete their registration with the AGCO and execute an operating agreement with iGO. Both are prerequisites for gaming companies to launch in the province.
In an added twist, PokerStars and FanDuel — both of which are Flutter brands — announced an innovative iGaming partnership last week under which FanDuel will be the official sports betting partner for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) while PokerStars will serve as the entertainment company’s official iGaming partner. MLSE owns professional sports teams the Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto FC (Major League Soccer), Toronto Argonauts (CFL), among others
The FanDuel-PokerStars arrangement has led to speculation that a similar setup could be used to launch online poker in Connecticut, where FanDuel has a partnership with the Mohegan Sun casino but isn’t offering poker. Kaitlyn Krasselt, a spokeswoman for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (CDCP), told Canada Gaming Review on Monday that the state’s gaming regimen does not currently allow multiple operators on a casino license.
partycasino Ontario Also Shows Up to the Party
Excitement is also building over at partycasino Ontario. The operator will go head-to-head in the vertical with more than a dozen others. These include well-known brands in the US like BetRivers, but European operators — like bet365, LeoVegas, and Royal Panda — are also active in the province.
partycasino Ontario said it will offer an entire suite of exclusive games for Ontario customers. The home page for the online casino had several new games and community jackpots on offer Tuesday, as well as numerous slots and live dealer games — variants of blackjack, roulette, and game shows were available for players. Bison Fury, Big Banker Pots, and Sweet Bonanza Candyland were some of the titles the operator mentioned by name.
“I am truly excited that all three of our Party brands are entering the Ontario market,” said Vic Walia, Managing Director of Party Brands. “Both recreational and professional players living in Ontario will be able to experience a world-class gaming product across poker, casino, and sports. As a Canadian and Toronto-native myself, I am particularly proud of this moment in our company’s history.”
Get the latest BetMGM Poker Ontario app, 888poker Ontario download, or jump right into the partypoker Ontario real money games. Learn more in the pokerfuse guide to the Best Online Poker Rooms in Ontario.