Groundhog Day is approaching on Friday, Feb. 2.
FanDuel is getting into the spirit by introducing Wiarton Willie into the novelty betting section on its Ontario sports betting app.
Ontario residents can now place bets on if Wiarton Willie will see his shadow or not, predicting how much longer winter will remain.
The market is exclusive to FanDuel.
Odds Wiarton Willie will see his shadow
This marks the first year that FanDuel is offering a market for Groundhog Day. The Wiarton Willie market is specific to Ontario.
Wiarton Willie is a white Canadian groundhog that lives in Wiarton in Bruce County, Ontario.
On Feb. 2 of each year, the Wiarton Willie Festival takes place and Willie himself predicts whether there will be an early spring.
If Willie sees his shadow, that means six more weeks of spring. If he doesn’t that means spring will be arriving early this year.
FanDuel’s odds for will Wiarton Willie see his shadow are currently at -110 for “Yes” and -110 for “No.”
Last week, the “No” odds were at -210, while the “Yes” odds sat at +180.
What is novelty betting?
The Groundhog Day market is one of many novelty betting markets that FanDuel is currently offering Ontario bettors.
PlayCanada asked FanDuel’s Novelty Trading Team for clarification on what constitutes “novelty betting.”
“Novelty betting refers to placing wagers on events and outcomes that are outside of traditional sports, FanDuel said. “These markets are often based on relevant and entertaining topics, sparking conversation among users. Examples of novelty betting markets that you can expect to see from FanDuel include award shows, elections, weather, TV shows and movies. They can even include unique cultural moments such as the upcoming Super Bowl halftime show.”
Currently, FanDuel’s novelty markets include the Oscars, Grammy’s, Razzies, highest grossing films and more. They also have an expansive Super Bowl market that includes odds on the national anthem, halftime performers and MVP speeches.
When it comes to determining odds for these novelty markets, FanDuel considers a lot of variables.
“The odds for novelty markets are decided by a combination of factors. It’s crucial to analyze the likelihood of various outcomes when pricing novelties,” FanDuel said.
“Examining external factors including, news developments, historical trends, changes in circumstances can all influence the odds and impact the outcome of the bet.”
How FanDuel is able to make novelty markets in Ontario
The novelty betting markets are unique in Ontario compared to some of the neighboring US states.
Novelty markets are open to predetermined outcomes. States like Michigan don’t allow them. FanDuel says it works closely with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario on these markets.
“Within the framework of Ontario’s regulations, we have the flexibility to offer diverse markets related to pop culture, politics, and weather,” FanDuel said. “Our compliance team works closely to ensure that our markets adhere to the regulations set by the AGCO, aligning with Ontario’s regulatory framework.
Novelty markets offered by FanDuel all come with betting caps to attempt to ensure responsible gambling. The Wiarton Willie market carries a maximum bet allowance of $100.
“At FanDuel, our priority is always responsible gambling. Novelty betting should be low stakes, so we implement low max bets to reinforce that it’s just for fun,” FanDuel said. “The restrictions vary depending on the specific market and are dependent on different variables.”
In the case of novelty betting markets that in some cases have predetermined outcomes, individuals could sway the market to their own personal favor if they have knowledge of the results outside of the rest of the public.
FanDuel is aware of the risks, but says it will remain diligent to make sure no illegal activity is taking place.
“Capping the bets is one measure we take to ensure fairness and responsible use of our fun novelty experience,” FanDuel said. “Novelty markets can also be suspended if we observe any signs of suspicious activity.”