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FanDuel and DraftKings Close Down Daily Fantasy Sports In Ontario

FanDuel and DraftKings are slated to launch their online sportsbooks in Ontario this April. As a result of the regulations associated with legal sports betting, players within the province will no longer be eligible to participate in the daily fantasy sports contests that those companies originally became famous for. 

FanDuel and DraftKings Close Down Daily Fantasy Sports In Ontario

A win for sports bettors, but a loss for fantasy players

Sports fans all over Ontario are anxiously awaiting the ability to place legal wagers on sporting events with online gambling sites of their choice. However, as a byproduct of the legislation that paved the way there is an unfortunate consequence for fans who enjoy playing daily fantasy sports. As they prepare to open their sportsbooks to the public in April, DraftKings and FanDuel are closing down their daily fantasy sports contests to players located within the province.

FanDuel’s shutdown goes into effect on April 1, with their online sportsbook scheduled to go live in Ontario on April 4th. DraftKings has not announced an official date for either the end of their Ontario DFS or the launch of their sportsbook, but they stated that the sportsbook will launch sometime in April and their DFS operations will end shortly before the launch. Players will still be able to withdraw their funds, and may continue to play daily fantasy sports contests as allowed by local laws when they are physically located in another province or in the United States.

Legislation forces operators to choose

The legislation that allows sportsbooks to legally operate in Ontario forced these operators to choose between their original flagship products or their newer and more lucrative sportsbooks. The reason is known as “ring fencing”, which means that sportsbooks licensed to operate in Ontario may not allow users to network with other users outside the province. For fantasy sports tournaments that rely on having a large pool of players, users in geographic locations that are unable to join the global pool are simply left out entirely. Given the massive appeal of online sports betting compared to the smaller niche of daily fantasy sports, the financial implications made the decision easy for the companies.

In addition to DFS providers, online poker in Ontario is affected by ring fencing as well. Pokerstars, a prominent online poker operator owned by the same parent company as FanDuel, is also excluding players located in Ontario from their global player pool come April 4th. Ontario residents will only be allowed to play against other players located within the province, similar to the ring fenced online poker markets in India, Italy, and a handful of states in the USA. Ontario poker players do not face the complete end to their games the way DFS players do. The legislation that allows sports betting doesn’t explicitly prohibit daily fantasy sports, but the ring fencing restrictions serve the same effective purpose as an outright ban by cutting off access to global player pools.

Will the Ontario DFS ban be permanent?

While it may not have been a hard decision for FanDuel and DraftKings to choose offering a sportsbook over their DFS games, it is certainly disappointing for sports fans who enjoy the complexities and head-to-head competition provided by daily fantasy sports. With the move to legalize sports betting indicating a growing acceptance of gambling on sporting events, eliminating DFS with the same legislation seems counter-intuitive.

For now, bettors in Ontario can celebrate their newfound ability to wager on a huge range of sporting events via many of the best online sportsbooks in the world. Daily fantasy players will just have to wait and hope that the continued shift in attitude towards gambling of all types will eventually allow Ontario gamblers to enjoy their game again at some point in the future.

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