Betsson Launches Betsafe Brand Casino, Sportsbook in Ontario

Stockholm-based company says its Betsafe platform will initially offer online casino games and a sportsbook, but not online poker.
Betsson Launches Betsafe Brand Casino, Sportsbook in Ontario
February 28, 2023

We are convinced that there are great opportunities for Betsson in Ontario in both the B2C and B2B channels as we bring a highly competitive offering to the market. Sweden’s Betsson AB announced that its Betsafe brand has officially launched in Ontario and will offer online casino gaming and sports betting in the province.

The Stockholm-based company said Betsafe in Ontario would be powered by Strive Gaming, a platform in which Betsson owns a 40% stake. Provincial regulators also awarded Betsson a supplier license, allowing it to offer a B2B sportsbook product to other operators.

“Ontario, home to almost 40% of Canada’s 38 million inhabitants, is economically the most important province of the country, and the online gaming market in the province is widely expected to become one of the largest in North America,” Betsson said in a statement Wednesday.

“We are convinced that there are great opportunities for Betsson in Ontario in both the B2C and B2B channels as we bring a highly competitive offering to the market,” added Betsson President and CEO Pontus Lindwall.

During an earnings call to discuss Q4 2022 and the full year 2022, Lindwall said the company was “continuing to have advanced discussions with several potential new customers in North America.

“So far, Strive Gaming has signed six customers and is live with three of them — Golden Nugget, Desert Diamond, and Betsafe. Another three customers are planned to go live in the first half of 2023. Strive is applying for licenses to enter big casino states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Poker Not Included In Initial Rollout

Betsafe was issued a one-year internet gaming operator’s license by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in late September 2022. It subsequently executed an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario (iGO) before going live.

Shortly after being awarded a license by the AGCO, speculation began to build over whether Betsson, a popular online poker platform in Europe, would launch online poker in Ontario.

At the time, Roderick Spiteri Schillig, Head of Employer Branding and External Relations for Betsson, told Canada Gaming Review that the company would announce what products it plans to launch “at a later stage.”

The decision by Betsson to launch Betsafe without online poker effectively ends the speculation — in the short run.

Betsson uses Playtech’s iPoker software in Europe. Playtech announced in June 2022 that it plans to launch an online poker network running iPoker in Ontario.

But Playtech needs online poker operators like Betsson to partner with for an iPoker network in Ontario to be viable. So far, it only has startup NorthStar Bets on board for such an idea.

If Betsson did want to launch poker, it could conceivably join NorthStar Bets on the iPoker network. But the network still likely needs additional operators. Coolbet and bet365 have been mentioned as potential candidates because both are currently on the platform in Europe and are also live in Ontario.

It should be noted that Betsson has not indicated that it plans to offer online poker in Ontario.

Betsson has been with iPoker for some time. The company previously ran online poker skins on the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN), but migrated to iPoker when MPN closed in May 2020.

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