Every Thursday, Sports Handle will recap all the top Canadian sports betting news, highlight the game of the week and take a look at some of the most intriguing games to bet on over the weekend.
Our top Canadian sports stories this week
Game(s) of the week
Toronto Blue Jays kick off the second half at Fenway Park
It’s been a roller coaster season so far for Canada’s only Major League Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays.
After opening the season with the second-best forward odds in the World Series (around +800), a lackluster June 15-13 and disappointing July 7-10 have the Jays currently out of a wildcard spot in the American League with a 50-43 overall record.
Toronto’s World Series odds rose to +2500 at FanDuel, with the team +950 to win the AL pennant. The Jays are now +360 to miss the playoffs.
Toronto sent five players – Alek Manoah, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Alejandro Kirk, Santiago Espinal and Jordan Romero – to the All-Star festivities in Los Angeles this week.
Tap 💙 if you like this team ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/96Bm3DiCsa
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 20, 2022
Manoah entered the Midsummer Classic in the second inning and struck out three batters. The 24-year-old first-time All-Star went mic for his work run, and he went viral on Twitter for his hilarious comment while dealing on the mound.
Alek Manoah has to be a mic in every game he throws 🤣pic.twitter.com/BoBIEexXnW
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) July 20, 2022
Toronto opens the second half of the season Friday at Fenway Park for a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox.
Bally Bet live in Ontario
Just weeks after going live in New York State, Bally Bet is also operating in the province of Ontario.
The operator received approval from iGaming Ontario on Wednesday and had previously been licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
– BallyBetCanada (@BallyBetCanada) July 20, 2022
As of Thursday morning, there didn’t appear to be any sports betting offerings, but its online casino did offer slots and table games, including live dealers.
There is now 32 game sites live in Ontario and more than 70 could be active by the end of the year, according to provincial regulators.
Bally Bet is also present in five other American states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Indiana and Virginia.
Are Calgary Stanley Cup hopefuls in the Flames?
Just days after losing Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets via free agency, the Calgary Flames received another blow on Wednesday when reports revealed that forward Matthew Tkachuk had told the team he was not interested in re-signing a long-term contract.
The team is now expected to aggressively pursue trade opportunities for the star player, who had 42 goals and 62 assists in 82 games last season for the Flames.
On July 4, Calgary had +1800 FanDuel chances to win the Stanley Cup. However, those odds have stretched to +2100 due to the loss of Gaudreau, who scored 40 goals last year for Calgary, and trade speculation from Tkachuk.
Matthew Tkachuk after telling the Flames he wants to be tradedpic.twitter.com/ypbgXnbsxw
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) July 20, 2022
The St. Louis Blues are among the rumored favorites to acquire the services of Tkachuck. His father, Keith, spent nine seasons with the Blues in the early 2000s.
Is Matt Tkachuk on the move?
Here are the current odds for his long-term favorite destinations to win the #Stanley Cup:
— Coolbet Canada 🇨🇦 (@CoolbetCanada) July 20, 2022
TheScore Bet undergoes updates
TheScore Bet surprisingly did not post a market for the MLB Home Run Derby on Monday.
A customer service representative said the company used one of the slowest sports days of the year to perform app upgrades and market expansion.
Following the updates, it is evident that the app now offers many more accessory markets and special markets for bettors, especially for MLB games.
TheScore Bet ceased its US sports betting operations on July 1 to focus solely on its Canadian product with the ultimate goal of migrating Barstool Sportsbook to the company’s in-house risk and trading platform.
TheScore Bet is owned by Penn National Gaming and is one of the few local operators living in Ontario.
Are Ontario casino workers going on strike?
Unifor, the union that represents more than 1,800 casino workers at eight different Great Canadian Gaming Corp. locations, says members have voted the strike if a new labor agreement is not reached by midnight July 22.
Workers seek better wages, benefits, pensions and more full-time positions as the province’s land-based casino industry desperately tries to rebound from ongoing COVID-19 shutdowns over the past two years.
“Casino employers have rebounded from pandemic-related closures,” Lana Payne, Unifor national secretary-treasurer, said in a news release. “Our goal at the bargaining table is to share some of these gains with the workers who make casinos successful.”
Great Canadian Gaming has 25 properties in four provinces, but the eight casinos that could be affected are located in Ontario. Some of these casinos are located in the Greater Toronto Area and are some of the busiest in the province, including Casino Woodbine, Great Blue Heron Casino, Pickering Casino Resort and Casino Ajax.
Great Canadian Gaming publicly opposed the recent launch of Ontario’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market by releasing a report that the Ontario government could lose $550 million a year by moving to an open market.
Unifor is Canada’s largest private sector union, representing 315,000 workers in all major sectors of the economy.
Casino workers from Unifor Locals 1090, 504 and 252 are at the bargaining table hoping to avoid a strike as early as Friday night at 8 p.m. @GRTCanadian casinos.
Decent salaries, benefits and pensions are essential. #canlab @Chrisatunifor https://t.co/KWaJB28KVK pic.twitter.com/EcvYzj5hS9
— Unifor (@UniforTheUnion) July 19, 2022
Still awaiting Ontario revenue figures
The Ontario provincial election took place on June 2, and more than a month later, we are still waiting for provincial regulators to release revenue figures related to the launch of the regulated online gaming and sports betting market.
We are still waiting for them.
IGaming Ontario revenue reports await after provincial election https://t.co/ctRlUv3k1X
— John Holden (@Johnsportslaw) July 14, 2022
Representatives from iGaming Ontario said Sports handle in early June that the numbers would be released “very soon,” once the provincial government had had a chance to review and approve them. AGCO and iGO executives also reiterated at June’s Canadian Gaming Summit in Toronto that the numbers would be released “shortly.”
It’s unclear what the reasons for the delay are, but the numbers are expected to be released quarterly going forward.
That of the province Spring 2022 budget estimated that iGO will generate net income of $18 million in 2022-23, $26 million in 2023-24, and $31 million in 2024-25.
Early app download data suggested that bet365, FanDuel and theScore Bet were the preferred sports betting/iGaming providers used by punters in the first month of the market.