The expansion of online poker in North America has been slow and painful at times, as legal issues and regulations have prevented operators from expanding at the pace they would like to.
The Ontario online poker market has been growing relatively fast since its launch in April 2022, but still remains relatively limited in size and traffic.
While operators like GGPoker Ontario and PokerStars ON battle for dominance in the most populous province of Canada, new ones like Run It Once Poker are looking to enter the market and compete for their slice of liquidity.
A recent interview with iPoker’s Network Manager, Baard Dahl, conducted by Poker Industry PRO revealed that the iPoker network is also looking for a way into the Ontario market, as well as other markets across North America.
iPoker Is Seeking Partners in Ontario and the US
iPoker’s desire to enter the Ontario online poker market is not news, as the operator expressed its intention to launch in the province as far back as 2022.
Ever since then, iPoker has been in conversations with a number of operators who could potentially partner up with them and launch iPoker in Ontario, but these efforts have not yet materialized.
Among the standout potential partners for the Ontario market was certainly Bet365, a company whose online poker platform already runs as part of iPoker in the .com market, and who may be the most willing to work with iPoker on an Ontario launch.
iPoker has also hinted at potential partnership deals with NorthStar Bets and Coolbet, but the latter has since withdrawn from the Ontario igaming market, taking that option off the table.
In order to launch in Ontario, Bet365 will need to find at least one, if not multiple partners, in order to mix together their liquidity and create a poker network across multiple sites, as it has previously done in other markets.
According to Dahl: “The key to establishing networks in these jurisdictions is partnering with one or more operators that can help us achieve a critical mass of players.”
What Exactly is the iPoker Network?
While American poker players have not had a chance to get acquainted with the iPoker network in the past, it remains one of the biggest and most well-known poker networks in other parts of the world.
iPoker is owned and operated by Playtech, one of the world’s biggest gaming companies, and it was launched in 2004, five years into Playtech’s existence.
Since then, iPoker has added dozens of poker skins into its network, with some of the world’s top sports betting brands like Bet365, William Hill, and Betfair running their poker operations as part of the iPoker network.
Apart from the international network of poker sites it runs, iPoker is also present in regulated poker markets like Italy, Spain, France, Austria, and Finland, where it allows local operators to join their liquidity and create a more enjoyable experience for their players.
Should iPoker enter the Ontario market in the future, it could help some of the smaller brands that are hoping to launch in the province to gain the necessary exposure and achieve the required liquidity for online poker, thus creating another option for Ontario poker players to enjoy big field poker tournaments and cash games across different stakes.