BetMGM Plants Flag in Ontario as First Regulated Online Poker Operator Under New Rules

After recent regulatory changes, BetMGM became the first online poker platform to launch in the Canadian province of Ontario on Wednesday.

Ontario, home to major cities like Toronto, Ottawa, and Hamilton, has shifted away from a “grey” market to a regulated environment. That’s had online gaming companies lining up to get in the action in the province.

MGM now becomes the first new operator in the province with a platform for the new regulated environment (and not previously available in the “grey” market). More operators are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

“BetMGM Poker brings an agile, diverse, and player-centric platform to Canadian players,” BetMGM director of poker Luke Staudenmaier said in a news release. “Through high-visibility partnerships, the brand will also connect players with world-class omni-channel experiences and poker legends, like brand ambassador Darren Elias.

“We look forward to building our community in Ontario, welcoming players to our tables, and providing safe, accessible, and entertaining options.”

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BetMGM becomes first in regulated Ontario

Ontario becomes the fourth market for BetMGM, which is a skin of the Partypoker US Network. In the US, the company operates in:

The company also operates the Borgata Poker skin as well in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Like in the US states, the Ontario market will function as a “ringed-in” market.

That has players competing only against others within Ontario. The move means players will transition from the grey market to a more regulated environment. Ontario offers a nice market for online poker with almost 14.6 million people.

There is potential to share liquidity with other provinces eventually as Quebec, British Columbia, and Manitoba all host officially government-sanctioned sites. Those in Quebec and British Columbia currently operate a shared network and liquidity.

For BetMGM, adding poker in Ontario brings a full betting experience to the province. The company launched online sportsbook and casino operations on April 4.

Growing the brand

Not only does Ontario present a fourth market for the company, but MGM’s first outside the US. The company is part of ROAR Digital, a partnership between MGM and Entain, owner of the international partypoker brand.

 BetMGM poker offers players a number of poker variants, signature poker tournaments, and cash games of all buy-in levels. The platform also operates the Fast Forward quick-play poker option and also features the Grind Rewards program.

In the US, the operator has ramped its tournament offerings in recent months. The company has run synchronized tournament series in each of the three legal US states. The site has also given each series a more distinct name than previously seen with monthly online festivals.

“We want to make our players … excited about the game of poker and we’ve found that variety in our month-to-month offers helps to pique their interest,” Staudenmaier told USPoker recently. “We want our players to recognize us as thoughtful and innovative, just like players themselves when making decisions at the table.”

The company also regularly partners with the Borgata casino, MGM property, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The casino’s poker room is one of the most popular poker rooms in the Northeast and offers partypoker/BetMGM some synergy in marketing online and live events.

While exact details aren’t yet known, poker players can probably expect similar tournament series and promotions as seen in the US. To celebrate the launch in Ontario, BetMGM is hosting daily Welcome Freeroll tournaments through April 30.

The BetMGM Poker apps are accessible in Canada on both Apple iOS and Android, as well as via desktop and laptop computers.

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