By Mark Wadie

MLSE Partnership With Fan Duel and Poker Stars

We are just a few weeks into a new era of legalised online gambling in Canada but every day sees fresh news of new licensees and strategic partnerships between gambling operators and sports franchises.

This week we published news that BetMGM and Fan Duel have extended partnerships with NHL into Canada. Now Flutter Entertainment have announced that two of its subsidiaries, Fan Duel and Poker Stars have entered into an agreement with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), who own the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL and Toronto Raptors in the NBA.

MLSE also own Scotiabank Arena which is the home ground of the Maple Leafs and Raptors.

The agreement makes Fan Duel the official sports betting partner for MLSE whilst Poker Stars becomes the official iGaming partner. At this present time Poker Stars has yet to be granted a license by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) but that is likely to be a formality.

Once that contingency is met Poker Stars and Poker Stars Casino, and Fan Duel, will be able to use the MLSE brands in their own advertising and the iGaming brands will appear during the MLSE Toronto teams’ games and at the arena on ring board and on-court signage.

For Fan Duel the announcement follows new partnerships with NHL and The Sports Network broadcaster. They also hold partnerships with sports teams in New York including the Knicks and the Buffalo Bills and the MSG Network.

Dale Hooper, General Manager and Fan Duel Canada, said: “The Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC are pioneering franchises and major pillars in Canadian sports culture. As we bring FanDuel to Ontario, we want to collaborate with globally recognized enterprises like MLSE to bring unique content experiences to some of Canada’s most dedicated sports fans.”

Poker Stars is one of the worlds’ biggest multi-player poker networks and their expected presence in the new Ontario market further raises the profile of what is expected to be one of the biggest iGaming markets in North America.

Commenting on the partnership with MLSE, Tom Warren, Poker Stars Marketing Director, said: “We have epic plans for our community in Canada, and are excitedly looking forward to creating some incredible experiences in our birth country, when we launch very soon. Partnering with MLSE gives us the opportunity to reach passionate fans across Ontario with a wide remit of poker and casino, heighten experiences wherever we can, and be a part of some major winning moments.”

The deal is a fantastic opportunity for the Flutter brands as MLSE are probably the biggest partner opportunity for any of the newly licensed iGaming brands. MLSE also own Toronto FC in Major League Soccer, Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League and Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.

Jordan Vader, Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships at MLSE, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Flutter Entertainment, a global leader and one of the most trusted operators in the sports betting industry. As the Online Gaming markets open in Ontario, we have worked hard to find partners who aligned with both our vision for innovation, and our values including a shared commitment to responsible gaming. We look forward to working with Flutter and providing a platform for them to engage with the millions of 19+ Ontario residents who are fans of our teams.”