Northern Exposure: CGA’s New Board Members, Ford Upset With Casino Mystery Shoppers

Each week, Canada Sports Betting recaps all the top sports betting and iGaming news in Canada, highlights the event of the week, and takes a look ahead at some of the most intriguing games to bet on over the weekend.

Our top sports stories this week

Event of the week

The Match – Dec. 10

It’s not golf season, but Tiger Woods is always intriguing to watch and bet on.

The latest installment of The Match will see Woods team up with Rory McIlroy to face Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in a 12-hole competition from the Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla on Dec. 10.

NorthStar Bets has tabbed the pair of Spieth and Thomas as the favorites (-125) for the showdown and is offering even money (+100) on Woods and McIlroy.

The format is best ball, meaning each player on each team plays his own ball throughout the round and the lowest score of the two players counts as the team score on each hole.

Woods hasn’t played competitively since The Open in July as he continues to work his way back from a serious leg injury.

More Ontario licenses granted

More operators received iGaming licenses from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario this week including Ligtip Gaming (TonyBet), Delta iGaming Inc (Delta Bingo and Gaming), and Ellipse Entertainment Limited (High Flyer Casino).

These operators will be able to launch their respective products in the Ontario market after they sign an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario.

As of Thursday morning, there are 67 live iGaming sites in Ontario and that number is expected to continue to grow in the coming weeks and months.

Gamblers in Ontario wagered more than $6 billion (CAD) and the market produced $267 million in total gaming revenue — from iCasino, online sports betting, and online poker — for the period of July 1-Sept. 30, according to the Fiscal Year Q2 report released by iGaming Ontario.

The $6.04 billion in total handle does not include promotional wagers, and the total gaming revenue of $267 million includes rake fees, tournament fees, and other fees across 24 total operators and 42 active gaming websites.

The regulator also reported that there was 628,000 active player accounts over the three-month period with an average monthly spend of $142 per user.

The Q3 revenue numbers from iGaming Ontario, which are expected to be announced in January of next year, should reveal a sharp increase in betting handle and total gaming revenue. Several new operators have recently joined the market and it’s a busy time on the sports calendar with major professional sports leagues like MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and the FIFA World Cup crossing over with each other during the quarter (Oct.-Dec.).

CGA announces new board

The Canadian Gaming Association, a national trade association that represents leading operators and suppliers in Canada’s gaming, sports betting, esports, and lottery industries, announced in an email Thursday the appointment of six new members – Bruce Caughill, Mark Harper, Charmaine Hogan, Dale Hooper, Niaz Nejad, and Scott Vanderwel – to its Board of Directors.

“We welcome Charmaine, Bruce, Niaz, Mark, Dale, and Scott to the CGA board and believe their experience will help the Association launch its new strategic plan to guide our growth and development over the next several years,” said Paul Burns, president and CEO of the CGA in the release. “Their subject matter expertise and professional skill set make them ideally suited to lead the CGA at this exceptional time, as we are evolving our way of working to meet the needs and be of service to our members, while driving our mission forward.”

Caughill is the managing director of Canada for Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers), which was one of the first operators to launch in Ontario’s regulated market in April. He also previously served as the chief legal officer with the AGCO and as the chief compliance officer with Niagara Casinos.

Harper is the general manager at NS Sports Media, which manages a number of sports betting affiliate brands out of the province of Nova Scotia. He has over 25 years of experience in the digital media space.

Hogan is the head of regulatory affairs at Playtech, a gambling software development company that provides software for online casinos, online poker rooms, online bingo games, online sports betting, scratch games, mobile gaming, live dealer games, and fixed-odds arcade games online.

Hooper is the general manager of FanDuel Canada and he also spent two years advising Canadian marijuana companies on regulatory affairs. He’s also worked as a brand officer for Rogers Communications.

Nejad is the senior vice president and head of marketing for U.S. and Canada at Aristocrat Gaming. She previously worked with the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission as its chief operating officer.

Vanderwel has served as PointsBet Canada’s CEO since August 2021. Like Hooper, he also worked with Rogers Communications where he oversaw corporate strategy and digital operations, among other things.

The King’s Plate

After 70 years of being known as The Queen’s Plate, Canada’s oldest thoroughbred race will once again be known as The King’s Plate to honour tradition following the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III.

The famous $1 million stakes race at Woodbine Racetrack near Toronto will host the 164th edition of the event next August.

“The Plate is one of the most celebrated events in horse racing, and we’re proud to celebrate its history while starting a new chapter under the banner of The King’s Plate,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment, in a release. “Those who attend can expect more than elite-level horse racing. They can soak in the elements of food, fashion and culture that have become associated with this prestigious annual event while enjoying moments designed for a new generation of race fans. We’re excited to share more details about The King’s Plate in the months to come.” 

The Queen’s Plate was first run in 1860 and was named after Queen Victoria after she gifted a plate to be awarded to the winner of the annual race in Toronto. However, the name has alternated between The King’s Plate and The Queen’s Plate a couple of times since its inception to coincide with changes to the British Monarchy over the years.

Pro women’s soccer league coming to Canada

Some major news broke Monday night as Canadian women’s national soccer team star Christine Sinclair, and her former teammate Diana Matheson, announced on CBC’s The National that they’ve proposed a new national professional women’s soccer league.

The plan is for the Canadian professional women’s league to be initially be comprised of eight teams and to launch in the spring of 2025. Vancouver and Calgary are already pegged as locations for two of the eight franchises and the goal of the league is to repatriate at least half of the roughly 110 Canadian women currently playing in professional leagues abroad.

The cost of a franchise is estimated to be between $8-10 million and CIBC and Air Canada have already jumped on board as potential corporate sponsors.

This news is timely as interest in soccer across Canada is high due to the ongoing FIFA World Cup. There was significant buzz around the Canadian men’s national team after it qualified for soccer’s greatest event for the first time since 1986.

If the league can successfully launch, it would create potential partnership opportunities for iGaming and sports betting operators in the country and give operators the chance to offer betting markets on the matches.

Doug Ford lashes out at Auditor General over OLG audit practices

Last week, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario released its report on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s casino, lottery, and Internet gaming operations.

A major portion of the report focused on money laundering concerns through Ontario’s casinos. Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk hired “mystery shoppers” who were able to obtain casino cheques in a way that confirmed they could launder money. Two undercover operatives were able to cash out casino cheques of $4,900 and $10,600 with limited play and no proof of winnings.

However, the report also states that some of these shoppers were also caught and apprehended by casino security.

This mystery shopper experiment isn’t sitting well with Premier Doug Ford.

“The Auditor General has to stay in her lane and focus on where there’s waste of money,” he said via The Canadian Press during an unrelated news conference last Thursday.

“You can’t do a sting operation, you can’t all of a sudden deputize yourself and think you’re the secret service going around doing sting operations – that failed by the way and they were caught.”

The Ontario Provincial Police were also displeased with the Auditor General’s string as it took up valuable resources to investigate the claims.