Betway Canada‘s Twitter bio says it all: “Ontario only, 19+.” That’s notable because, until Tuesday, Betway was one of the country’s most prominent gray market online gambling operators.
On Tuesday, iGaming Ontario (iGO) congratulated Malta-based Betway for completing its nearly four-month-long regulatory journey. Now, Betway offers legal online casino, live casino, esports, and sports betting in Ontario.
iGO tweeted on Tuesday:
Congrats!🏆 @betwaycanada has joined the new market as a regulated and approved Operator.
That means Betway holds an operating agreement with iGO and received approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The operator received AGCO approval on April 19.
Betway’s parent company, Guernsey-based Super Group Holding Company (SGHC), saw its stock rise more than 25% during the past five days.
First-Movers Were Frustrated About the Gray Market
Ontario launched its expanded online gambling marketplace on April 4, with many new private operators taking bets.
Those new legal operators understood that it would take time to transition gray market operators into the newly regulated environment.
However, they started getting frustrated more than a month later when they were still competing with gray market operators.
Then on July 13, PointsBet Canada CEO Scott Vanderwel voiced his complaints at SBC Summit North America 2022.
In front of industry insiders gathered to listen to the session Online in Ontario – iGaming in North America’s 5th Largest Market, he said that there were legal and illegal operators at that point. Plus, Vanderwel disagreed with allowing an operator to have legal status in Ontario and a gray market status in the rest of Canada.
So now, in Betway’s case, the former gray operator gets to endure the same user complaints the other brands had months ago.
As recently as 11:14 p,m. ET today, which is two days after the legal launch, Betway bettors took to Twitter to complain that the app worked on desktop computers but not mobile devices.
As online gamblers said of previous launches by Betway’s competitors, several characterized Tuesday’s event as “the worst transition.”