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DraftKings CEO excited by Canadian single-sports betting legalization

·3 min read
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DraftKings (DKNG) CEO Jason Robins is excited about further expansion in Canada as single-sports betting nears legalization.

However, the head of the U.S. digital sports entertainment and gaming giant said details on timing and products will have to wait until provincial regulators spell out the “rules of the road” that will shape the industry post-legalization.

“Canada is going to be a really exciting opportunity, should it open up,” Robins told analysts on a post-earnings conference call on Friday. “We’ve seen really good progress there, both at the federal and provincial level in the Ontario legislature.”

Last week, Bill C-218 passed a vote in the House of Commons with overwhelming cross-party support, and is now before the House Justice Committee. The legislation aims to remove language in the Criminal Code preventing Canadians from legally betting on single sporting events, with the exception of federally-regulated horse racing. If the bill becomes law, provinces would be tasked with establishing their own regulatory framework for single-sports betting.

“It’s very much left up to the regulator what the rules of the road are,” Robins said. “So we are waiting for regulations. I know they are being worked on by the Ontario government. Once we get that, we’ll have a better sense of what timing could be, what product could look like, and things like that.”

Ontario’s plan is to create a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to be responsible for managing and regulating “iGaming” sites operated by private third parties. Other provinces, such as British Columbia and Quebec, plan to play a more direct role through their respective lottery corporations.

Boston-based DraftKings is among a number of U.S. companies looking to win a Canadian market that could attract more than $28 billion per year in wagers in five years time, according to one recent estimate. The company has already built a presence in Canada thorough its daily fantasy sports platforms. Earlier this month, DraftKings announced a deal with the National Football League that would expand its daily fantasy football partnership into Canada.

Toronto-based theScore (SCR.TO) is among the Canadian companies eager to defend their home turf in single-sports betting. Meanwhile, theScore continues to gain ground in U.S. states where the activity is legal. The company has launched its ScoreBet platform in Colorado, New Jersey, Indiana and Iowa so far.

Last week, theScore announced intentions to list on the Nasdaq exchange, where it will join DraftKings, and other American sports betting rivals.

DraftKings shares climbed as much as eight per cent on Friday. The company topped Wall Street revenue estimates for a third quarter since going public through a reverse merger with a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) in April.

Shares climbed 6.87 per cent to $61.79 at 12:27 p.m. ET.

.Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist

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