Ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wed.

Caesars Windsor opens Ontario's first full-service sportsbook

Ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Reading time 3:12 min

Caesars Sportsbook at Caesars Windsor, billed as Ontario’s "first full-service sportsbook," has now opened its doors. The new amenity made its debut on Wednesday, with Kevin Laforet, President of Caesars Windsor; Brian Masse, Windsor-West NDP MP; and Mayor Drew Dilkens attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Hockey Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr placed the first bet on a win for the Jacksonville Icemen. 

Masse, who spent years fighting for the legalization of single-game sports betting, said this opening will mean more jobs and increased tourism for Windsor. With the Canadian dollar where it is compared to the US greenback and America’s heavier taxation on winnings, he said this could give Windsor “a shot in the arm again to take a special place of advantage in the region," as reported by Windsor Star.

It also now gives us a product that competes with the United States, which was sorely lacking. That’s critical because, without those types of amenities, we’re fighting with one arm tied behind our back,” he said. "So it means protection of jobs and the continuation of services that could even expand in the future depending on how things go. But most importantly we’re no longer at a disadvantage.”

Dozens of others joined in the special event at Legends Sports Bar, including Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmimerczyk and Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy, who represents casino workers. 

Laforet said the grand opening was the result of work from a long list of people and agencies, including politicians, casino management and its union, tourism groups, and business development agencies. Caesars Windsor claims it has now become the first organization in Ontario to offer a full-service on-site sportsbook after Canada legalized single-event betting in 2021. 

During the ceremony, Mayor Dilkens applauded Caesars Windsor and its staff, who struggled through pandemic shutdowns, for “coming back and building back better." “I cannot think of a better way to build back than add another service, something that had been talked about for years," he said, as reported by the cited source.

“Single-sports betting allows this community to be competitive with its neighbors in Michigan, with its neighbors in Ohio, because we know the people who come to these facilities have options. We want to make sure the options here in the City of Windsor are second to none,” he pointed out.

Before the new law took effect, Canadians had to make harder-to-win parlay bets on a combination of multiple games. The ban against betting on single events, except horse racing, had been in place since the Criminal Code was enacted in 1802.

The Senate passed Bill C-218, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, in June 2021. The bill received royal assent immediately. The law gives provinces the authority to license and regulate sports betting, and allows for betting on single events. 

The Ontario Lottery launched Proline+, an online platform for single-event betting on league sports last year. But provincial regulations allowing casinos to offer on-site single-event betting took longer to be established. Laforet said the approvals came in late October and the kiosks went up in November.  

Caesars Sportsbook at Caesars Windsor features three betting windows and seven betting kiosks and is located in front of Legends Sports Bar. There are also betting kiosks outside the Poker Room, at the main floor Skybridge entrance, and inside The House Sports Lounge. 

The 1,618-square-foot space also features 22 large-screen HD LED TVs with "state-of-the-art" sound, dedicated seating, and "fan-favorite" menu items. Caesars Windsor’s staff will be available to assist guests in placing their bets and learning about ways to sports wager responsibly. 

Tandem Engineering Group served as designer on the project in partnership with Artisan Construction, as general contractor, creating a venue "that conveys the Caesars Sportsbook brand in a modern way through a lively and contemporary space." The sportsbook is open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight.

Wednesday's opening brings an end to more than a decade of lobbying from Windsor politicians. With the sportsbook now open, bets can be placed on a wide range of sports including professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, auto racing, and more to bet like a Caesar all year long. 

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