Woodbine Entertainment incorporated wagering on horse racing with a private operator for the first time, as bet365 offered it in time for the weekend’s King’s Plate. But now, CEO of the horse racing group, Jim Lawson explained that the organization is eyeing the launch of its pari-mutuel wagering on more Ontario-regulated sportsbooks in time for the next Kentucky Derby.
The launch of horse racing for third-party operators in Ontario has been in the works for quite a while. First Canada needed to legalize single-event wagering, which became a reality in August 2021. However, Woodbine kept exclusive rights to horse racing wagers. It took some time for the group to negotiate terms with private sports betting operators, but now it is done.
Further Expansion is on the Cards
In a recent interview, Mr. Lawson shared that the not-for-profit-like horse-racing operator is looking to debut its pari-mutuel wagering on races to a number of provincially-licensed sportsbooks by early 2024. But he also mentioned that there is a good chance that the group will be able to deliver its product outside of the province with other provincial lottery corporations.
This means that iGaming platforms such as B.C. PlayNow could possibly provide similar services to what bet365 is now offering to Ontarian bettors. The partnership with the private operator is an example of a concept for other provincial regulators, showing that pari-mutuel betting via a digital sports betting platform can be conducted in a legal and safe manner.
Furthermore, Mr. Lawson commented that with the latest launch, the organization is attracting an entirely new demographic of fans to horse racing via the operator and ultimately through all the other upcoming wagering apps as the team expands its pari-mutuel footprint. He noted that many others are also keen on joining in on that horse racing content.
The CEO noted that horse racing accounts for usually 8% to 10% of revenue for sports betting brands. He believes the sport is attractive for the industry due to its “always on” product, as races are run almost always somewhere across the globe. Also, the group’s federal pari-mutuel wagering license allows Canadian horseplayers to place bets on races on every continent.
On Sunday, Woodbine Racetrack hosted the prestigious King’s Place, and the CEO said that the event drew immense interest. That is why the horse racing operator wishes to install retail sportsbooks at its track, and thus capitalize on the attraction of in-person wagering. Lastly, he said that the company was shocked by the overwhelming demand for tickets this year.
Adding New Wager at Tracks
At the start of June 2023, Woodbine Entertainment further improved its betting options by introducing Swinger/Omni wager at its tracks. This is a leading international wager which requires horseplayers to select two of the top three finishers in a race. Then, one of the participants can win with their preferred choice of horses finishing a race first and second, first and third, or second and third
Source: Zochodne, Geoff “More Sports Betting Sites to Carry Horse Racing in Ontario Following King’s Plate Success” Covers, August 21, 2023