Although PokerStars was newly launched, BetMGM is still the leading operator in the recent Ontario online poker market. In terms of traffic, the two are very close, but PokerStars Ontario may take the lead soon. Nonetheless, it is a remarkable showing from BetMGM. This company has no prior history of operating in Canadian markets, demonstrating that it will not relinquish the market lead without a fight.
Indeed, BetMGM Ontario has seen an increase in traffic since PokerStars Ontario was launched on June 29. The concurrent cash game seats’ average number has increased from 135 to 145, according to the most recent data from industry monitor GameIntel, which is available on the PRO Data platform.
What this suggests is that PokerStars’ debut attracted new players. In the past week, the total combined player pool reached 271 concurrent cash game players. This is up from around 180 pre-PokerStars.
The Launch of BetMGM Ontario
On April 5, a day after the market was opened, BetMGM Poker Ontario debuted. The sites were separated from international players, just as is done with other licensed operators, and this created new provincial player pools.
Within a week of the network’s launch, fellow skins, bwin, and partypoker joined, bringing a small number of current Ontario players with them. By early May, the only other poker room that was licensed at the time, 888poker, had been overtaken by the trio of BetMGM sites. The trio became the market’s largest. It’s an impressive showing for an operator which has no brand presence in the market. As previously reported by pokerfuse, Ontario is now the largest online poker market for BetMGM.
This advantage has only been extended. Its traffic of nearly 150 concurrent players today easily outnumbers that of Pennsylvania (42), Michigan (62), and New Jersey (72). It’s even higher than the peaks of any of the markets above, with the New Jersey network pre-2015 being the only exception.
The Launch of PokerStars Ontario
PokerStars Ontario, on the other hand, is just getting started. It was launched in the market some weeks ago. The first cash game traffic for PokerStars was recorded on July 4. This is just the start for PokerStars Ontario. The Ontario Platinum Series, which is its first big tournament series, is already underway. The guaranteed prize money is CAD $1 million.
With the overlays seen during the event opening weekend, it’s evident that the operator wants to offer players value to encourage them to sign up and play. It was also revealed that the site has a plan for its own “COOP” series. This series, ONCOOP (Ontario Championship of Online Poker), will have massive guarantee money of CAD $2 million.
BetMGM also has some tricks up its sleeve. It hasn’t run its online tournament series yet in Ontario, and this is undoubtedly going to attract some players.
For those not familiar, BetMGM is one of the leading operators in the gaming and sports betting industry. It was established as a partnership between MGM Resorts International and Entain. You can find out more about online poker and other forms of gambling through our dedicated Canadian gambling guide.