BetMGM Still Leads in Ontario -- But PokerStars is Hot On its Tail BetMGM Still Leads in Ontario -- But PokerStars is Hot On its Tail
BetMGM/PokerNews

BetMGM remains the leading operator in the new Ontario online poker market despite the recent launch of PokerStars, pokerfuse can exclusively reveal.

The pair are very close in traffic, and PokerStars Ontario could take the lead in the coming days. Still, it is a strong showing from BetMGM Poker Ontario, which has no history of operating in the Canadian markets — and shows it has no plans to give up the market lead without a fight.

In fact, BetMGM Ontario, which also hosts skins partypoker and bwin on its player pool, has seen its traffic grow since PokerStars Ontario launched on June 29. The average number of concurrent cash game seats is up from 135 to 145, the latest numbers from industry monitor GameIntel, available on the PRO Data platform, show.

This suggests that PokerStars’ debut has brought new players — its existing Ontarian player base into the new segregated market — rather than poaching players from other sites. The total combined player pool in Ontario totaled 271 concurrent cash game players over the last week, up from around 180 pre-PokerStars.

BetMGM Poker Ontario launched on April 5, the day after the market opened. As with other licensed operators, the sites had to be segregated from international players, creating new provincial player pools.

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Regulated Online Poker Operators Active in Ontario

Operator Ontario Launch Network 7dma Traffic (July 10)
888poker April 4 Independent 6
BetMGM (partypoker, bwin) April 5 (April 12) BetMGM 146
PokerStars June 28 Independent 145

Within a week of launch, fellow skins partypoker and bwin also came into the network, bringing a small contribution of existing Ontario players. By early May, the trio of BetMGM sites had overtaken the only other licensed online poker room at the time, 888poker Ontario, to become the largest in the market.

It is certainly a strong showing for an operator with no brand presence in the market. As pokerfuse previously reported, Ontario is now BetMGM’s largest online poker market.

This lead has only been extended. Today, its traffic of almost 150 concurrent players easily surpasses that of New Jersey (72), Michigan (62), and Pennsylvania (42). It is actually higher than the peaks of any of those markets, with the exception of its New Jersey network pre-2015.

Data provided by GameIntel

However, PokerStars Ontario is just getting things started. It launched in the market almost two weeks ago, and its first cash game traffic was recorded on July 4. Thus, its first complete 7-day moving average figure i is now available, and, at 145 concurrent cash game players over the last week, it is just one player shy of BetMGM’s average.

And this is only the beginning for PokerStars Ontario. Its first big tournament series — the Ontario Platinum Series — is already underway, with a very ambitious CAD $1 million in guaranteed prize money.

Given the overlays seen in the opening weekend’s events, it is clear that the operator is happy to offer value to players to encourage them to sign up and play. pokerfuse also revealed that the site plans its own “COOP” series — the Ontario Championship of Online Poker (ONCOOP) — and this will have a monstrous CAD $2 million guarantee.

But BetMGM still has some tricks up its sleeve, too. In fact, it has yet to run its own online tournament series in Ontario, something that will assuredly attract some players to the tables. BetMGM has a spread of branded online poker tournament series in the United States with guaranteed prize poolsPoker Mania, Double Trouble, Cheap Stakes, and Bounty Blitz, to name a few — and, presumably, it will soon try these out in Ontario.

Data provided by GameIntel