Partypoker is live in Ontario, Canada, a week after the newly regulated market opened to locally licensed operators.
Twelve of Ontario’s 28 licensed poker and gaming sites launched last week and now, Partypoker has joined the festivities.
An April 12 press release confirmed that, following approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), on.partypoker.ca was open to locals.
Same Partypoker, new market dynamics
In addition to tournaments and cash games, Partypoker Ontario will offer FastForward (fast-fold tables) and lottery-style SNGs known as SPINS. Players can also make deposits, bets, and withdrawals in Canadian dollars.
Rounding out the new platform’s list of products is a selection of casino games, secure banking options, and promotions, including Partypoker’s loyalty scheme. So, in almost all respects, Partypoker Ontario will match what the company offers elsewhere in the world.
What won’t be the same, however, is the player pool. Anyone already registered with Partypoker will have their account transferred over to the Ontario platform. The same applies to new players. Therefore, Ontarians who previously played Partypoker’s global network now have to adjust to a ring-fenced system.
Per Ontario’s online poker regulations, all online gaming activity must be conducted within the province. In turn, player pools must be segregated from other online poker networks in Canada, and from the rest of the world. Ontario is home to 14.5 million people making it a slightly larger market than the shared liquidity triumvirate that is New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada.
In this sense, Ontarians are getting a similar online poker experience to players in the US. However, with other states, including Michigan, ready to connect the proverbial dots, ring-fenced gaming is slowly fading in the US. In Canada, we may only be seeing the start of things to come.
Ontario poses challenges for Partypoker, et al
Ontario is the first province to enact its own online gambling regulations and, in turn, segregate itself from the rest of Canada. For liquidity sharing pacts to become viable, other provinces would have to follow suit.
So, while Partypoker’s Managing Director of Brands, Vic Walia, is “excited” about the move into Ontario, there will be challenges ahead. What’s more, Partypoker isn’t alone in Ontario. The market opened on April 4, with 888Poker being the first platform to launch. It was quickly joined by other names from the online gaming world, including Bet365, Unibet, FanDuel, and Caesars. The good news for Partypoker is that these operators are better known as sports betting and casino brands.
Therefore, in terms of poker, it’s currently the biggest name in the province. But, this could change when WSOP.com and GGPoker launch their joint venture, WSOP.ca. Beyond these professional rivalries, Ontario is a hive of online activity right now and Partypoker is adding to the festivities.