Each Thursday, Sports Handle recaps all the top sports betting news in Canada, highlights the Game of the Week, and takes a look ahead at some of the most intriguing games to bet on over the weekend.
Our top Canadian sports stories this week
Game of the Week
Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Calgary Stampeders — July 30
Will the Blue Bombers ever lose a game?
The back-to-back Grey Cup champions are a flawless 7-0 (5-2 against the spread) this year and are 1.5-point favorites at FanDuel this Saturday when they visit Calgary.
Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson said Tuesday that several players on his squad are battling illnesses and there are at least a few cases of COVID-19. Calgary was initially a 1-point favorite when betting lines opened, but the COVID news moved the line back in favor of Winnipeg.
Winnipeg prevailed 26-19 in the only previous meeting between these two teams back in Week 6, when it handed Calgary its first loss of the season.
The Stampeders injury report doesn’t tell us much we don’t already know
Derek Dennis, Jameer Thurman, Ka’Deem Carey, Charlie Moore and Tommy Stevens are all listed as having “illness”.
Dickenson confirmed there was at least one case of pneumonia and several in COVID protocol
Nova Scotia launched an online casino product through the Atlantic Lottery Corporation on July 21.
“We didn’t want to make a big announcement about this. We’re not trying to really promote it,” Nova Scotia Finance Minister Allan MacMaster told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Sports Handle reached out for comment from MacMaster but received no response.
MacMaster acknowledged how prevalent online gambling has become and believed it made sense for Nova Scotians to have a safe and secure website to bet with, rather than flocking to offshore online casino products.
The Nova Scotia government launched single-game sports wagering in the province in February, just before the Super Bowl. Sports bettors in the province can wager at retail locations, or online through ALC’s Pro•Line games.
Nova Scotia very quietly launched an online casino Thursday through @AL_Lottery. No press release as Finance Minister is “not trying to really promote it.” https://t.co/Fqyz0TUhh8
Penn National subsidiary theScore Bet launched its proprietary in-house risk and trading platform on Monday.
The migration to its own risk and trading platform significantly enhances theScore Bet’s mobile product offering in Ontario, including increased in-game wagering options, event props, and an expanded library of markets.
“From the outset, achieving technology independence has been a core priority of ours and I could not be prouder of the incredible team who built this state-of-the-art platform from the ground up,” said John Levy, CEO of theScore, in an email release. “Operating on a system where all components are custom built to work together maximizes our speed and efficiency and supercharges our ability to seamlessly roll out new features, wagering options, and innovations. We are extremely excited to introduce this enhanced product to Ontario bettors well ahead of the busy fall season.”
Sports Handlereported last week that theScore Bet was undergoing upgrades during MLB All-Star week, which is the slowest overall sports week of the year and a logical time for app maintenance.
TheScore Bet is also planning to roll out a new Parlay+ feature this fall for all major sports.
We’re still waiting for the first revenue reports from Ontario regulators, but theScore Bet was one of the most downloaded apps in the province during the early days and months of the new regulated market.
Niagara retail sportsbook on the way?
There was another indication this week that a retail sportsbook could potentially be launching in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in the future.
Greg Yott, who was recently promoted by Niagara Casinos to sportsbook manager, is now looking to hire a sportsbook ambassador.
Sports Handle has reached out to Niagara Casinos regarding the potential launch of a sportsbook at one of their locations, but did not hear back before this article was published.
Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns said during this month’s SBC Conference in New Jersey that he’s disappointed that retail sports betting isn’t up and running in the province yet.
Ontario’s provincial lottery operator, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, owns Niagara Casinos, but the day-to-day operations are handled by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which has a license with the AGCO for its PlayFallsview mobile app.
Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment President of Digital Gaming Rich Roberts recently told Sports Handle, “Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara would be two great spots to have sportsbooks.”
Workers on strike at two Ontario casinos
On Friday night, July 22, a major strike was averted at six major Great Canadian Gaming Corporation casinos in Ontario, but workers at two Durham Region casinos owned by GCGC — Pickering Casino Resort and Casino Ajax — couldn’t reach a tentative deal and are on strike for an indefinite period.
The workers are demanding improvements to wages, benefits, and pensions and lobbying for more full-time jobs. There’s also a wage disparity between workers at the two Durham Region casinos and other GCGC-owned casinos in the province.
The two venues will still be open 24/7 and offer slots and electronic table games to patrons, but other amenities, such as onsite restaurants, will have reduced hours.
Table games will not be available at Pickering Casino during the strike period.
Both casinos are located in populous areas just to the east of Toronto, Canada’s largest city.
The land-based casino industry in the province and across Canada is desperately trying to rebound from rolling COVID-19 closures over the past couple of years.
Watch Local 1090 president Corey Dalton discuss the wage gap facing workers on strike at the Pickering Casino and Resort: pic.twitter.com/liW4oeBxye
On Wednesday, Bragg Gaming Group announced the appointment of Mark Clayton to its board of directors after Cristina Romero resigned to focus on other commitments.
Clayton boasts an impressive resume as a gaming attorney and has previously served in many different roles with the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Greenberg Traurig L.P.’s global gaming practice. He also sits on the compliance committees for Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, 888 Holdings, DraftKings, Flutter, and Entain.
“Mark is recognized as one of the most accomplished attorneys in the gaming industry, with a career that spans decades of providing legal and strategic counsel to clients that are among the industry’s leader,” said Bragg Chairman Paul Godfrey in a statement. “Mark’s wealth of expertise and experience will serve us well as we continue to execute on our global B2B iGaming expansion initiatives.”
Toronto-based Bragg Gaming Group will release its second-quarter 2022 financial results prior to the opening of the financial markets on Aug. 9.