With Upcoming Online Gambling Launch, DraftKings Ditches DFS In Ontario

Written By Dave Briggs on May 16, 2022 - Last Updated on May 27, 2022
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Editor’s note: DraftKings in Ontario is officially live as of May 18, 2022.

News of the DraftKings Ontario impending arrival as a casino and sportsbook operator has come at a cost to its daily fantasy sports players in Canada.

DraftKings announced its online gambling launch today:

“Starting shortly before the launch of sportsbook and casino, users physically located in Ontario will be restricted from playing in both free and paid daily fantasy sports contests on DraftKings. Until that time, you can continue to play daily fantasy sports on DraftKings, as normal.”

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Why no more DraftKings DFS in Canada

Regulatory rules are the reason DraftKings is dropping DFS in Ontario.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario considers DFS sports betting. Since Ontario only allows sports betting within its borders, DFS players cannot compete against players outside of the province. That limits the number of players and makes the prize pools too small to be attractive.

FanDuel, which is already live in Canada, previously announced it was suspending FanDuel DFS in Ontario for this reason and Dale Hooper, the general manager for FanDuel Canada, elaborated on that decision in a recent interview with PlayOntario.com.

Hooper said the Ontario-only element of DFS does not make it attractive enough to offer at this time. He didn’t rule out it returning to Ontario players in the future if the regulator can be convinced to allow players to participate against people from outside the province. Hooper said:

“We just need to have an environment where Ontario fantasy players actually are going to have a game they want to play.

“From what I can understand, the regulators have been very open with us in terms of having discussions with us in terms of, ‘What is this going to take and how does this work?’ The right conversations are happening for fantasy players. I think people should know that. As things move on we’ll see how it will work. First off, the environment has to be right… We could run it today, but I don’t think anyone would want to play.”

Online poker off to a slow start for a similar reason

Online poker is off to a slot start in Ontario for a similar reason. The AGCO restricts play to Ontario-based players only. That makes the pools too small to be attractive.

As of April 25, the total number of peak concurrent poker players in the province was a meager 70. And about two-thirds of that number were playing on 888, according to a report.

It is reportedly one of the main reasons grey-market Pokerstars has not, yet, joined the regulated Ontario market. It continues to operate in the grey market where it can retain its large customer base and the liquidity that comes with them.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Dave Briggs

Before joining PlayOntario, Dave spent more than 25 years as a writer and editor, mainly covering horse racing in Canada. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Western University and was a 2018 inductee into the Communicators' Corner of the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Beyond a deep passion for family and music, Dave has a mostly-tragic, life-long love of Detroit sports teams. He lives in Port Stanley, Ontario with his wife and their beloved Vizsla named California.

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