The saying is usually “better late than never.” The citizens of Ontario have to say this after the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) made it seem that several of the top online gaming operators were going to have to depart the province after new regulations took effect Monday. Now, the dance partners are lining up with the appropriate companies to allow for Ontarians to be able to continue online gaming almost uninterrupted.
partypoker to Launch on Tuesday in Move to BetMGM
Friday was the day that a great deal of action took place for those companies that had not yet received licensing from the AGCO. First, partypoker announced that they would be joining forces with BetMGM Poker Ontario to gain entry to the Ontario market. The new relationship will take effect on Tuesday, when players who were a part of the partypoker operation in the province will migrate over to the BetMGM platform.
Everything offered by partypoker will be moved over to the BetMGM platform on Tuesday. This includes online poker, sportsbook operations and casino gaming. Players will have to download the new software, but their username and password should work without issue once a player has confirmed their identity. After Tuesday, players who do not move over to the new BetMGM operation many not be able to access the partypoker (international) platform.
The new operation brings the total to two Ontario-regulated online poker operations in the province, the combined BetMGM/partypoker effort and the 888Poker offering.
What About PokerStars?
At this time, PokerStars has NOT earned regulation by the AGCO for operations in the province. They have, however, announced a deal that will help to facilitate that move.
On Friday, PokerStars announced a new partnership with one of the legendary hockey franchises in the National Hockey League and one of the top players in the sportsbook/DFS industry. The new partnership will see PokerStars join with FanDuel to become gaming partners with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). MLSE manages the advertising and marketing efforts of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the National Basketball Association’s Toronto Raptors.
The new partnership will see PokerStars be the casino gaming and online poker operation, while FanDuel will take the sportsbook operations. “We are thrilled to partner with Flutter Entertainment, a global leader and one of the most trusted operators in the sports betting industry,” said Jordan Vader, the Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships with MLSE. “As the online gaming markets open in Ontario, we have worked hard to find partners who aligned with both our vision for innovation, and our values including a shared commitment to responsible gaming. We look forward to working with Flutter and providing a platform for them to engage with the millions of 19+ Ontario residents who are fans of our teams.”
“We have epic plans for our community in Canada and are excitedly looking forward to creating some incredible experiences in our birth country, when we launch very soon,” Tom Warren, PokerStars’ Marketing Director, stated during the announcement. “Partnering with MLSE gives us the opportunity to reach passionate fans across Ontario with a wide remit of poker and casino, heighten experiences wherever we can, and be a part of some major winning moments.”
“The Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC are pioneering franchises and major pillars in Canadian sports culture,” Dale Hooper, the General Manager with FanDuel Canada, added. “As we bring FanDuel to Ontario, we want to collaborate with globally recognized enterprises like MLSE to bring unique content experiences to some of Canada’s most dedicated sports fans.”
The status of licensing of the new partnership between PokerStars/FanDuel/MLSE is unknown at this time. The AGCO would prefer to see ALL operators completely licensed and regulated, rather than having operators who continue to offer an “offshore” product. Once they are licensed, PokerStars would become the third operation to be fully permitted by the AGCO. Unfortunately, the GGPoker/WSOP.com doesn’t look to be taking effect until later in April. At some point, it is entirely likely that any “offshore” gaming would be prohibited and blocked.