Northern Exposure: RGC CEO Shelley White To Retire, Oilers’ Massive Stanley Cup 50/50 Draws

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

EURO 2024 – Round of 16

We’re down to 16 teams vying for the distinction of European soccer champions after the group stage of the tournament concluded on Wednesday.

The Round of 16 gets underway on Saturday when Switzerland takes on Italy at 12 p.m. ET in what should be one of the closer remaining matchups. Some of the other high-profile Round of 16 games include Germany vs. Denmark, England vs. Slovakia, and France vs. Belgium.

Check back with Canada Sports Betting for betting previews on each day of the competition.

Here’s a look at the latest outright odds courtesy of FanDuel:

RGC CEO Shelley White announces retirement

We learned earlier this week that Shelley White, CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council, is planning to retire in December.

The Toronto-based organization made the announcement on LinkedIn on Tuesday:

The RGC Staff and Board of Directors would like to congratulate Shelley White MA, ICD.D, our beloved CEO, on her upcoming retirement in December 2024. Shelley’s commitment to RGC and the people, organizations, and communities we serve globally is unparalleled. We will celebrate Shelley and the remarkable contribution she has made to RGC as her retirement date approaches.

White has served as the RGC’s CEO for roughly 7 1/2 years, helping elevate the non-profit to a globally recognized leader in the responsible gambling space. The RGC plays a huge role in supporting provincial lottery corporations and private igaming operators across Canada.

“It has been an honour to serve as CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council,” White said in a statement. “I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such an outstanding board of directors, staff team, and stakeholders over the years. Together we have advanced RGC’s vital mission, vision, and values. Today, RGC is a global leader that is having a profound impact on creating a responsible gambling ecosystem. I feel so fortunate to have been involved in this worthwhile, exciting, and fulfilling journey.”

White, who previously served as the CEO of United Way of Peel Region and Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, recently spoke and acted as a chairperson at the Canadian Gaming Summit in Toronto last week.

The RGC, which works to reduce gambling risks by creating and delivering innovative awareness and information programs while promoting the adoption of improved play safeguards through best practices research, standards development and the RG Check accreditation program, says the search for a new CEO is now underway.

Oilers 50/50 draw smashes records

The Edmonton Oilers weren’t so lucky in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, but that wasn’t the case for one lucky fan of the NHL team.

A lucky bettor has walked away with a record-breaking grand prize of $10.84 million in the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation’s 50/50 draw for the final game of the NHL season. That means the EOCF sold a staggering $21.6 million worth of tickets for Game 7.

To put in perspective just how large of a jackpot this is, last February’s Super Bowl (which was held in Las Vegas) 50/50 total jackpot was just over $500,000 USD. The winner walked away with just over $250,000 (USD). And for Toronto Maple Leafs home games last season, the top 50/50 draw sold just $60,000 in tickets.

The massive Oilers 50/50 jackpots were a topic of conversation at last week’s Canadian Gaming Summit in Toronto, with Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, Dale Nally, raving about the gambling revenue potential in Alberta as the province looks to expand its igaming portfolio by embracing private operators to compete with its provincial lottery corporation.

“Albertans love to gamble,” Nally simply stated.

Troy Ross, president of the consultancy firm TRM Public Affairs, predicted at the Summit that Alberta could have its new competitive igaming model up and running by the end of the year, stating the government is aggressively pushing this agenda forward.

“If Alberta follows a very similar regime to Ontario, they’re going to get a similar result,” Ross said during the discussion, while also roughly projecting Alberta could earn at least $100 million in net revenue taxes in the market’s first year of operation. He also believes the size of the provincial gambling markets are drastically underestimated across Canada, and that Alberta has the potential to be a shining example of a world-class gambling jurisdiction alongside Ontario.

Currently, Ontario is the only province to adopt an open and regulated igaming market.

GeoComply to acquire minority stake in Betting Hero

Vancouver-based GeoComply, the global leader in geolocation compliance, anti-fraud, and identity technology, intends to complete a strategic 40% investment in Betting Hero (U.S. subsidiary of FansUnite) for $37.5 million (USD), it announced Thursday.

Betting Hero, founded in 2018 by Jai Maw and Jeremy Jakary, is an in-person customer acquisition company in the legal U.S. online gambling industry. It partners with top sports betting and online gambling operators across hundreds of venues spanning the U.S. to help thousands of consumers enjoy their experience betting online. Betting Hero has helped over 250,000 customers at events nationwide register, deposit, and bet at legal U.S. online sportsbooks and casinos.

The sale requires shareholder approval and is expected to close later this summer.

“Jai and Jeremy have built a tremendous business with a laser-like vision to support their customers’ mission for the best possible user experience through the sign-up process,” said GeoComply CEO Anna Sainsbury in the press release. “At GeoComply we share that vision and are delighted, through this intended investment, to help Betting Hero further their efforts and deploy more resources and focus into serving our customers and their patrons throughout North America.”

GeoComply has played a vital role for private operators in the creation of Ontario’s regulated igaming market as a provider of player location validation, a strict guideline set out by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Quite simply, GeoComply identifies and blocks players from outside of Ontario from accessing private operator platforms to ensure compliance. Its services are also used by companies all across North America.

mkodo joins the CGA

Mkodo, an award-winning B2B supplier of mobile and front-end technology to igaming operators across lottery, casino and sportsbook, is the newest member of the Canadian Gaming Association, a national trade association that works to advance the evolution of Canada’s gaming industry.

The company is a longstanding supplier for many of the provincial lottery corporations across Canada, including the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Western Canada Lottery Corporation, and Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis, in addition to a handful of private operators doing business in Ontario’s regulated igaming market.

“We are thrilled to join the Canadian Gaming Association, an organization that plays a crucial role in shaping the future of the regulated gaming industry in Canada,” said Managing Director of mkodo Stuard Godfree in a release. “This membership aligns perfectly with our mission to provide exceptional user experiences in iGaming and Lottery and reinforces our commitment to supporting responsible gaming initiatives within Canada. We look forward to collaborating with CGA members to drive forward the industry’s standards and innovation.

As a member of the CGA, mkodo will collaborate with other industry leaders to drive innovation, advocate for responsible gaming practices, and contribute to the overall growth and sustainability of lottery, betting and gaming, both land-based and online, across the Canadian provinces.

The CGA, which has been active for almost 20 years and boasts roughly 70 members, has been particularly instrumental in developing and advocating regulated igaming markets across Canada.