Rush Street Interactive’s (RSI) BetRivers has announced the launch of a free-to-play casino and sportsbook in Canada, becoming the latest US operator to announce plans to expand into Canada.
This comes after Canada passed legislation approving single-event sports wagering earlier this year.
BetRivers enters Canada
Last week, RSI announced plans to enter the Canadian gambling market with the launch of a free-play casino and sportsbook at BetRivers.net.
The free-to-play online casino and sportsbook is available now on all mobile devices, tablets, desktop and laptop computers for Ontarians aged 19 and older.
The launch of the free-play site is intended to help BetRIvers build a customer database before it launches a real-money sportsbook product and a real-money online gambling product in Ontario.
Richard Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer of RSI said: “Our expansion into Canada represents an exciting new frontier for RSI and continues our growth across the Americas.
“CASINO4FUN® offers our community of players the same high level of entertainment and customer service of RSI’s real-money gaming platform, delivered in a casual and free-to-play setting. We look forward to providing a truly differentiated gaming experience for players in Ontario that is focused on fostering player trust and enjoyment.”
CASINO4FUN® is powered by the same proprietary technology behind RSI’s real-money platform and offers players in Ontario the comprehensive range of gaming options
RSI expects to launch real-money online casino and sports betting in Ontario under its BetRivers brand in the coming months, subject to licensing and regulatory approvals. RSI’s BetRivers brand has seen success in US markets like Illinois and Pennsylvania where it has a land-based presence.
According to Ontario regulators, the launch of real-money online gambling could come in December.
Canada is now the third country where RSI operates real-money or social gaming. The Company is the fourth largest operator of online casino and sports betting combined in the United States as of July 2021, per Eilers & Krejcik.
Sports betting in Canada
Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, legalised single-event sports betting in Canada by repealing paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code to permit single-event sports betting.
Up until then, sports betting in Canada was only legal via parlay wagering, this meant that it was illegal to place a wager on an individual event.
The journey towards legalising single-event sports wagering in Canada began more than a decade ago, however, the most recent effort only started last year.
In February 2020, House of Commons MP Kevin Waugh introduced bill C-218 to the legislature. Then in November, the bill was picked up by the Canadian government. After several readings and debates, the bill cleared the Senate and received Royal Assent in June 2021.
On 27 August, Bill C-218 came into effect, paving the way for Canada’s provincial lotteries to begin offering single-event wagering. The delay between the passage of the bill and the date it came into effect created an opportunity for more sports betting options to prepare for launch.
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC) and the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba were among the first to adopt single-event sports betting.