Among BetMGM’s four online poker rooms in North America, Ontario is now, by far, its largest, the latest cash game data reveals.
Real money Ontario online poker, along with casinos and mobile sportsbooks, went live in early April. Four poker rooms launched in that first week, with the independent 888poker competing alongside BetMGM Poker Ontario, partypoker, and bwin, all forming a single network.
According to statistics tracked by independent industry monitor GameIntel and available on PRO’s Data platform, the BetMGM Ontario network — also known as the Canadian part of the partypoker US Network — has averaged approximately 160 concurrent cash game seats filled over the last seven days. That is far higher than its sibling networks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
It also now far outstrips the other regulated online poker room in Ontario, 888poker, which currently averages just 40 average cash game seats. It could also soon overtake the incumbent Canada Poker Network, which services four provinces of Canada and averages around 150 players at any one time.
BetMGM and partypoker’s Expanding Footprint Across North America
BetMGM Poker operates in three jurisdictions in the United States; Canada was its first foray into a regulated market outside the US. Each platform has a distinct player pool and uses software provided by partypoker.
The networks are collectively referred to as the partypoker US Network, though BetMGM is the one constant in all four markets. partypoker operates in two — New Jersey and, now, Ontario — and Borgata is present on the network in PA and NJ.
BetMGM US/partypoker US Network traffic stats
|State||Brands||Current traffic||All-time high|
|Ontario||BetMGM Poker, partypoker, bwin||121||131 (May 2022)|
|New Jersey||BetMGM Poker, partypoker, Borgata||73||272 (Jan 2014)|
|Michigan||BetMGM Poker||69||106 (April 2022)|
|Pennsylvania||BetMGM Poker, Borgata||40||57 (Oct 2021)|
Thanks to the early market start, the three-brand strategy — with bwin bringing with it its own base of players — and Ontario’s 15-million-strong population, it quickly rose to become the largest network in the set.
By early May, it had overtaken its competition in Pennsylvania, a network that’s struggling in a tough market with WSOP and PokerStars both competing; a week later, it leaped over Michigan; and, by mid-month, it had overtaken New Jersey. It hasn’t looked back since.
In fact, BetMGM Poker Ontario game traffic today is higher than any other BetMGM-associated network at any point in history. The BetMGM Poker Michigan real money platform peaked at just over 100; PA has never climbed as high as 60. Since BetMGM joined the partypoker New Jersey network (in 2017, when it was still called PlayMGM) traffic rarely gets above 100 seats.
the growth has not come without effort — since its launch two months ago, BetMGM has been busy iterating on its product to remain at the top of the market.
The operator has been running big guaranteed tournaments every week, which have proven very lucrative for players} as many fail to reach guarantees. While these have been scaled back some in recent weeks, there is still significant value on offer to tournament players.
For cash games, it deployed its Hot Tables concept in Ontario, which is also a hit. As pokerfuse exclusively reported last month, it is also offering satellite packages on BetMGM Poker Ontario to the 2022 ARIA Poker Championship in Las Vegas (where BetMGM Poker NV may very well be gearing up to launch).
All of this has helped BetMGM stay ahead of the competition. The landscape, however, is likely to change soon, with two more regulated operators expected to launch this summer.
PokerStars, GG/WSOP Still Wait in the Wings
Global online poker giant PokerStars still operates in Ontario from offshore, but is expected to launch its segregated PokerStars Ontario site in the coming weeks. While a firm date is not known — indeed, the operator has still yet to receive formal approval from the necessary authorities — a launch sometime after SCOOP 2022 is expected. That series has just concluded, so a launch in mid to late June seems likely.
Another operator also waiting on the sidelines is GGPoker. Its launch in Ontario is hotly anticipated, not just because it’s the operator’s first step into a North American regulated market, but also because it plans to launch under the WSOP brand.
pokerfuse broke this story in early March and it was later confirmed by the operator. It also received its approval from the regulator, but still needs to execute its operating agreement with iGaming Ontario in order to go live.
At the time, a launch in early April was floated, but this date came and went and the GG/WSOP Ontario partnership remained offline. Exactly what is holding up the launch is not known at this time, but it could well be waiting for PokerStars to make its move first before committing.
The timing for WSOP, however, is somewhat more critical. The live World Series of Poker 2022 in Las Vegas has just got underway, and the first online bracelets — available in New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and, for the very first time, Michigan — are also running.
One might have assumed WSOP would like to extend online bracelets to Ontarians too — but, if that’s the case, it better hurry up and launch soon.