Northern Exposure: Coolbet To Halt Ontario Operations, theScore Bet Launches Web Version Of Online Gaming Product

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

NCAA Tournament – March Madness

March Madness is now underway, kicking off an exciting next four days of non-stop college hoops action.

Sixty-four teams are battling it out for the national title, and the odds-on favourite to win it all this year is Houston (+500 – bet365).

Several Canadian players will be showcasing their skills, including Purdue’s Zach Edey, Texas guard Marcus Carr, and Marquette’s Olivier-Maxence Prosper, among many others.

Here’s a snapshot of the championship splits courtesy of DraftKings.

Coolbet to seize Ontario operations

Coolbet Canada announced on Thursday that it will shutter its Ontario operations on April 3.

All deposit options will be turned off on March 21, and the sportsbook and online casino platforms will be shut down one day later. The site and mobile app will officially be inaccessible in Ontario on April 3. Any pending bets will be voided and refunded.

“I think it’s a symptom of the competitiveness of the Ontario market,” A Canadian iGaming executive told Canada Sports Betting. “A company that competes primarily on low sportsbook vig is going to be in trouble. The American companies are executing their strategy of spending so much that others decide not to play.”

Coolbet was one of the first operators to go live in Ontario on April 4 of last year, and the operator was lauded for how it handled transitioning its players from the grey market into the province’s new regulated market.

Shortly after going live last April, decorated Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse was named Coolbet’s “Ambassador of Cool.”

Coolbet is not the first casualty since the launch of Ontario’s iGaming market. PressEnter Group’s Nitro Casino also shut down its operations in the province on Dec. 30 of last year.

There are 78 iGaming sites from over 40 operators live in the province as of Thursday afternoon.

Ontario’s industry regulators don’t disclose operator market share in their quarterly reports, but it’s estimated that previousy-grey operators like bet365, Pinnacle, and Betway, and well-known U.S. operators like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, and BetRivers, all have significant market share in the province.

theScore Bet adds web platform

Bettors can now access theScore Bet’s online casino and sportsbook through a web browser, just in time for March Madness.

The operator announced the desktop upgrade in an email press release earlier this week and users will enjoy the same experience as on its apps. An additional perk is that bettors can now view lines, odds, and content without signing up or logging in.

“Launching desktop is another example of how we’re continually building out our product to best serve customers,” said Noah Levy, senior vice president of product management at theScore. “The web version increases accessibility, providing another way for fans in Ontario to play with theScore Bet, browse the breadth of available markets and enjoy their favorite casino games.”

One of the major drawbacks bettors shared with Canada Sports Betting upon the operator launching last April was the absence of a desktop version of the platform. This is one of many upgrades theScore, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PENN Entertainment, has undergone over the past year as PENN Entertainment works towards migrating its U.S.-facing Barstool Sportsbook brand onto theScore Bet’s platform later this year.

Courtesy: theScore Bet

AGCO’s Tom Mungham to retire this fall

Tom Mungham, the CEO at the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, will retire this fall, the AGCO announced.

Mungham joined the AGCO in 2006 and was appointed Registrar and CEO in 2020.

Since joining the AGCO, Mungham helped the government regulator modernize its plans for the expansion of land-based casinos, the regulation of OLG lotteries, the introduction of beer and wine sales in grocery stores, the expansion of the province’s charitable gaming sectors, the introduction of Ontario’s private cannabis market, and most recently, the development and regulatory oversight of Ontario’s new online gambling market.

“I want to thank Tom for his tremendous contributions throughout his 17-year career at the AGCO, and most importantly, for his exceptional leadership as our Registrar and CEO,” said Lalit Aggarwal, chair of the AGCO board of directors. “We extend him our deepest appreciation for his guidance in fulfilling AGCO’s mandate with unwavering commitment to the values of integrity, respect, accountability, and public interest. We wish him the very best for this next, well-earned chapter.”

Mungham has worked in public service for over 33 years and he also served in various roles with the Ministries of Correctional Services and Solicitor General and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) prior to joining the AGCO.

The AGCO says the search for his successor has begun.

CGA celebration and agenda

The Canadian Gaming Association has launched a fancy new website and is also inviting industry professionals to mark the first anniversary of Ontario’s regulated iGaming market on April 4, 2023, with a one-day program and celebration at the Toronto Region Board of Trade in downtown Toronto.

Several key discussions and panels will be held throughout the day to reflect on the accomplishments of the industry over the past year and to look ahead at some of the pressing issues now facing the industry. Some of the topics of discussion will include responsible gambling, advertising, and how to further educate customers, among others.

Some of the confirmed speakers include Martha Otton, executive director or iGaming Ontario, Shelley White, CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council, Catherine MacLeod, CEO of ThinkTV, and Jeff Harris, director & lead, sport business. The closing remarks have been reserved for Attorney General of Ontario, Doug Downey.

A reception will follow that will be hosted by theScore at its new offices located at the Waterfront Innovation Centre.