BetRivers Beats US Leaders To Punch With Ontario Agreement

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on March 10, 2022 - Last Updated on July 1, 2022
BetRivers Casino Sportsbook Ontario Online Sportsbook

BetRivers has beaten the US top three in one way, announcing its operating agreement Thursday to enter the Ontario market next month.

Whether the Rush Street Interactive online gaming platform can top FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM when bets go live in April remain to be seen (update, they basically did).

For now, BetRivers is the latest to receive iGaming Operator Registration from Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission. The company announced the milestone via media release, joining a handful of companies such as PointsBet, theScore Bet and 888 Holdings.

BetRivers Online Casino has made huge in-roads in the US, while BetRivers Sportsbook is among the mid-tier operators in America. Like other brands eyeing the Ontario online casino and sports betting market, the brand sees an opportunity in Canada.

‘One step closer’ for BetRivers; iGO agreement next

Like the half-dozen others operators that have announced registration, the road is not for BetRivers complete before the April 4 launch. The brand must still complete an agreement with iGO.

“We are now one step closer to launching the BetRivers real-money online casino and sportsbook in Ontario and bringing our unique betting options, such as our innovative peer-to-peer slot tournaments or same game parlays, fast payouts, and award-winning customer service, to the province’s millions of residents, said Richard Schwartz, RSI’s CEO.

“Our free-to-play social gaming platform has experienced strong traction in Ontario to date, and we look forward to offering those players similarly entertaining and responsible experiences when our real-money offerings come April 4.”

The online casino and sports betting company has found success in the US and Latin America, offering players a range of betting options.

Free-to-play CASINO4FUN launched in October

Canada marks RSI’s third country of operation. As Schwartz noted, BetRivers has offered social gaming to Ontarian players for some time.

Canadian punters in the most-populous province have taken advantage of RSI’s social gaming platform, CASINO4FUN. The free-to-play social casino and social sportsbook has been live at BetRivers.net since October 2021.

Its wide-ranging gaming option allows BetRivers to build its brand and player database. The intention will be to transition those players to the real-money platform at launch.

The innovative online casino includes over 350 of the latest slot and table games and unique loyalty and bonusing features. Its online sportsbook allows sports fans to bet across numerous leagues worldwide.

BetRivers is fourth-largest operator in the US

According to Eilers & Krejcik, RSI has been the fourth largest operator of online casinos and sports betting combined in the United States since July 2021.

As the leading US brand for Rush Street Interactive, BetRivers is the company’s publicly traded spinoff business.

RSI is the vision of Neil Bluhm, the Chicago billionaire who opened Rivers Casino in suburban Chicago. Bluhm also owns casinos in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and upstate NY.

PlaySugarHouse, popular in Pennsylvania, is another RSI brand. However, that brand ties to the company’s SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, an association they are capitalizing on. How RSI connects with Ontario players remains to be seen, an open question for all brands, as the landscape is drastically different in Canada.

For one, the promotion of sign-up bonuses is restricted in Canada. For its part, BetRivers has already been actively promoting in Canada, running television ads during the Winter Olympics.

In the US, BetRivers does better comparatively with its online casino than its sportsbook. That’s in part due to its player-friendly options, including a market-leading playthrough requirement. With numerous games to choose from and lots of casino promotions, BetRivers offers more enhanced social features than many competitors.

Making gains south of the border

RSI was an early entrant in many regulated jurisdictions through its various brands. Currently, the company is live with real-money mobile, online and retail operations in 11 US states, including New Jersey, New York, and Michigan.

RSI’s brick-and-mortar, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, first opened its doors in December 2018. The launch of BetRivers Sportsbook PA followed in June the following year. In October, three months later, French Lick Casino launched Indiana’s first mobile sports betting app, BetRivers Sportsbook Indiana.

BetRivers was among the first brands to open online sportsbooks in Colorado (May 2020) and Illinois (June 2020).

Kambi Group provides the tech behind BetRivers Sportsbook. The sports betting software, tech and risk-management service provider develops sportsbooks for casinos in the US and globally.

RSI Q4 results: Facing net loss despite the healthy growth

RSI’s Q4 2021 financial results saw the company’s full-year revenue reach US$488.1m (CA$625.84), a 75% increase over 2020.

The company gained US$131M (CAD$168M) in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2021, up 31% year-over-year. However, the surge was not enough to compensate for losses.

Although narrower than for the equivalent, prior-year periods, RSI reported net losses for Q4 and the entirety of 2021.

During Q4, the company posted losses of US$38.1M (CAD$39.88M), an improvement over Q4 2020s US$41.6M loss (CAD$53.34M). RSI’s full-year net loss amounted to US$71.1M (CAD$91.16M), significantly less than 2020s US$131.6M (CAD$168.74M).

In both cases, losses were from increased marketing investment in the competition for market share.

“As most investors now know, there was extreme competition from marketing assets during the fourth quarter,” Schwartz said in Q4 and year-end 2021 earnings call.

“We weren’t immune to the impact, but we continue to be prudent with our marketing and spending consistent with our focus on attracting high-quality customers.”

Schwartz: Canada, Mexico big part of BetRivers growth strategy

The company continues to expand by growing the top line and investing in marketing and technology for long-term revenue growth.

“Heading into 2022, we are more convinced than ever that our consistent approach is the right one, and we will provide long-term value creation for our shareholders,” Schwartz added.

“On the technology and product side, we continue to enhance our offerings and provide a best-in-class gaming experience to our customers. As planned, we went live with our integrated iOS sportsbook-casino app near the end of 2021.

“During the first half of 2022, we look forward to expanding into Canada and Mexico with our online casino and sportsbook sites and apps in these two large population markets where we are well-positioned to achieve success.”

Photo by BetRivers
Katarina Vojvodic Avatar
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina is a Toronto-based online gambling writer who holds a master's degree in journalism. Before joining PlayCanada, she was part of the AskGamblers crew where she reported about the world of online casinos and interviewed numerous iGaming experts. Being in the industry for 5 years, she became an expert in online slots.

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