FanDuel Sportsbook and PokerStars, both part of Irish bookmaking group Flutter Entertainment, have joined forces to strike a major partnership deal with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), the parties announced on Friday. The agreement marks a first in North America featuring multiple Flutter brands.
Resulting from the deal, sports gaming giant FanDuel is set to become the official sports betting partner of MLSE, the largest sports and entertainment company in Canada, and one of the largest in North America.
Meanwhile, online poker heavyweight PokerStars has been designated as official gaming partner of Maple Leaf, although the brand's launch is subject to final registration by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and execution of an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario.
“The two will unite in this major deal to offer fans and gaming players in Ontario a powerful combination of entertainment through leading sports, poker and casino gaming experiences,” Flutter said in a press statement.
Flutter describes the partnership as a first-of-its-kind deal for the holding in North America, and is set to offer FanDuel and PokerStars an opportunity to showcase their brands to a large number of sports fans in Canada.
“The Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC are pioneering franchises and major pillars in Canadian sports culture,” said Dale Hooper, General Manager, FanDuel Canada. “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.”
In addition to the use of MLSE team marks in advertising and marketing, FanDuel Sportsbook, PokerStars Casino and PokerStars will be featured prominently throughout NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA’s Toronto Raptors games including rink board and on-court signage.
The partnership will also allow FanDuel and PokerStars to collaborate on marketing integrations with all of MLSE’s teams. These include, in addition to the aforementioned franchises, MLS’ Toronto FC, CFL’s Toronto Argonauts and NHL’s Toronto Marlies.
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“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,” said Tom Warren, PokerStars Marketing Director. “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.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Flutter Entertainment, a global leader and one of the most trusted operators in the sports betting industry,” added Jordan Vader, Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships, MLSE.
The deal follows the recent launch of Ontario’s online gaming market, which took place on April 4. The Canadian province -the largest jurisdiction in the country and the first to take bets in a legal private online market- now allows betting on casino games, sporting events and other gambling activities through online websites and apps from companies licensed to run operations.
The number of registered operators as of April 1 was 25, with more to come, according to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. FanDuel Group was able to launch a fully-integrated real money online gaming experience right on schedule, with the FanDuel Sportsbook app and the FanDuel Casino app available on market launch.
“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,” added MLSE’s Jordan Vader. “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.”