Northern Exposure: BetMGM’s Year-End Betting Insights, Manitoba Casino Workers Avert Strike

Each week, Canada Sports Betting recaps all the top sports betting and iGaming news in Canada and highlights upcoming events.

Our top stories this week

Event of the week

NFL – Week 18

The final week of the NFL regular season should be a doozy.

Division titles are still up for grabs in the AFC East, AFC South, NFC East, and the NFC South this weekend. There are also three playoff spots still to be determined in the AFC and two in the NFC, setting up a wild final week of scoreboard-watching for bettors.

Bettors in Ontario will be, of course, keeping a close eye on Sunday night’s clash between the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. Buffalo, listed as a three-point road favourite at bet365 over the Dolphins, can clinch the AFC East title with a win, and it has four other outs to clinch a playoff berth should it fall to Miami. is giving the Bills an 86% chance of making the playoffs and there’s a good chance they’ll already have a postseason berth in hand before kickoff on Sunday evening.

BetMGM’s year-end insights

Just prior to the holiday break, BetMGM released its 2023 year-end betting insights. The operator is only live in Ontario north of the border and claims to have a 22% market share in the province, which has over 45 igaming operators doing business. The following insights include data from Ontario and all of the U.S. jurisdictions that BetMGM is operating in, so it’s not a true representation of exactly what Canadians are betting on both online, and in person at retail sportsbooks. However, previous research has shown that Americans and Canadians do share very similar sports wagering preferences for the most part.

“2024 will show the evolution of traditional and modern sports betting,” said Matt Cosgriff, director of retail trading at BetMGM, in an email. “The trading team expects in-play wagering and player-prop betting to grow. Live betting continues to increase in the overall percentage of handle as more people enjoy ‘trading the games’ than just a pre-game wager. BetMGM experienced a record 2023 and we expect to continue that momentum into 2024. The future is exciting for our business, and we plan to break even more records in 2024.”

Most bet events by ticket number

  • Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles (Super Bowl LVII)
  • Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs (AFC Championship)
  • San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (NFC Championship)

Most bet players by ticket

  • Shohei Ohtani
  • Nikola Jokic
  • LeBron James

Top events for the customer (money won)

  • Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (Nov. 30)
  • Nebraska at Colorado (Sept. 9)
  • Colorado at TCU (Sept. 2)

Top players for the customer (money won)

  • Nikola Jokic
  • Kenneth Gainwell
  • Derrick Henry

Most bet players by sport

  • Patrick Mahomes (NFL)
  • Nikola Jokic (NBA)
  • Shohei Ohtani (MLB)
  • Connor McDavid (NHL)

Manitoba casino workers avert strike

Just before Christmas, food and beverage workers at Manitoba casinos reached a new contract agreement with Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, averting a strike.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU), which represents roughly 200 workers at the casinos, said on Dec. 21 that members had ratified a new eight-year collective agreement. Under the new agreement, union members will see wage increases ranging from approximately 16% to over 40%. Members had been working without a contract since 2020.

“The significant wage increases for the next four years reflect how poorly this workforce has been treated,” said MGEU President Kyle Ross in a press release. “Now, these members will be able to finally catch up and keep up with the soaring cost of living. I can’t think of a better Christmas present for these deserving Manitobans than this deal.”

The new contract also includes signing bonuses ranging from $600-$1,800 per member.

There are eight casinos in the province, but only two – Club Regent Casino and McPhillips Station Casino – are operated by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries. The other six are operated by First Nations groups.

RGC consultation

The Responsible Gambling Council, based in Toronto, has launched a stakeholder consultation for feedback on its RG Check Standards.

An RG Check accreditation is a sign that the operator or venue has the highest level of responsible gambling standards built into its offering to ensure player safeguards and protections and is valid for three years.

The RGC is seeking feedback from operators, regulators, community and prevention agencies, treatment providers, and other stakeholders involved in gambling harm prevention. It says the results of the consultation will be used to “shape and strengthen” the RG Check igaming and land-based gaming standards.

Interested parties can complete the survey here and the deadline to complete it is Jan. 19.

iGaming Ontario requires operators to obtain the Responsible Gambling Council’s RG Check accreditation within the first two years of being licensed in Ontario.

In its 2022-23 report, the RGC says 17 igaming sites received the RG Check accreditation, with a particular focus on operators entering Ontario. Thirty-one land-based accreditations were also completed, including the first RG Check accredited sites in Australia.