A month before online gambling was set to launch in Canada, 888 was granted a license to offer sports betting, casino and poker by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Online gaming in Ontario is set to launch on April 4.
“We are delighted to have been awarded a license by the AGCO and look forward to launching in the market when it officially opens,” 888 Holdings CEO Itai Pazner said in a statement.
“As a group, our focus is on strengthening our presence and offer to customers across key regulated markets.
“To that end, Ontario represents an attractive long-term growth opportunity for 888 and this is an extremely strategically important milestone for us.”
Ontario license follows 888 rebuke in UK, sets up Canada’s only competitive market
The news came as a welcome tidbit for the Malta-based company after it was hammered with a $12.4 million fine from the UK Gambling Commission last week regarding responsible gambling customer care failings and anti-money laundering issues.
Sports betting in Canada was legalized on Aug 21, 2021, and single-event retail sports wagering launched in Ontario six days later through a provincial lottery platform named PROLINE+ Sportsbook.
Alberta, the Atlantic Provinces, and provinces under the Western Canada Lottery Corporation, British Columbia, and Quebec have so far elected to regulate sports betting just through their lotteries. Ontario has subsequently licensed Points, Rivalry Corp., theScore, 888, and BetRivers.
US companies like DraftKings and FanDuel are expected to eventually launch in the province of 15 million residents. That’s about Phoenix plus Pennsylvania and would make Ontario the fifth-biggest American state.