Ontario Casino Launch - Are Regulations Too Much As DFS Pulled?
Fantasy sports companies, Draft Kings and FanDuel, have announced they will remove their paid daily fantasy sports products from Ontario sites due to the province's new gambling regulations.
The new legal framework, set to come into effect when the Ontario online casinos market launches on April 4, undermines the potential for daily fantasy sports (DFS) companies to make sufficient profits in the province, and could even spell the end of an era for Ontario fantasy sports fans.
Ontario law, drawn up by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), will consider fantasy sports a form of gambling, and it will charge operators C$100,000 per year plus a 20% tax on revenue. Draft Kings and FanDuel do not believe this leaves enough room for business success. FanDuel are even pulling their free daily fantasy sports products from Ontario.
Due to the C$100,000 annual licensing fee, smaller DFS operators could be forced to turn their back on Ontario.
FanDuel 'Not Able' To Offer Daily Fantasy Sports in Ontario
"Due to a change in government regulations, FanDuel will not be able to offer paid or free daily fantasy contests in the province of Ontario starting on April 1st,” said a message from FanDuel on its website.
FanDuel added that Ontario residents can still participate in daily fantasy contests while physically located in other provinces and within US states where daily fantasy is permitted.
Despite the pull out, FanDuel and Draft Kings still plan to launch its online sports betting and casino games products in the province when the Ontario market opens on Monday.
Draft Kings plans to launch its sports betting platform and online casino in Ontario in April, while customers can keep playing its DFS product 'shortly before' the April 4 iGaming launch.
AGCO: Decision Rests With The Operators
The AGCO added: "At this time, Ontario players can only participate in games with other players located in Ontario.
"Choosing whether or not to offer pay-to-play fantasy sports is an individual business decision that rests with registered operators. Free-to-play fantasy sports have been and will continue to be allowed to be offered after the new iGaming market launches on April 4, 2022."
The AGCO's decision could be regarded as a risk as it might force thriving, money-making businesses away from the province, although it is unlikely to be overly-concerned as the influx of new online casinos will surely provide a handsome source of income.
Also, with sports betting sites and casino sites with online slots, live casino and other games becoming legally available, any disappointment felt by DFS fans in Ontario might be assuaged.
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