Betfair recently announced that it is exiting the Canadian sports betting market and will no longer be taking action from Canadian players. Though no one is certain exactly what triggered the move, it’s believed that it has something to do with the company’s impending merger with Paddy Power.
The announcement, which was made in the form of an e-mail sent on December 23, was unusually vague for something coming from a mainstream operator and seemed designed to get lost in the pre-Christmas rush saying only:
On 14th January 2016 Canadian residents will no longer be able to place bets and Betfair shall close it’s [sic] website. All outstanding Sportsbook bets will be cancelled, you will no longer be able to place new exchange bets and all gaming products will be blocked. Please note that all outstanding Exchange bets will remain in place until 14th January 2016, so please ensure you manage any positions you have open in advance of this date.
Betfair’s merger status, and the fact that sports betting isn’t legal in most parts of Canada, were not mentioned in the e-mail.
The company’s actions are pretty standard for operators who are making, or looking to make, big moves in the international market. After all, grey market action isn’t something that gaming and financial regulators tend to look upon kindly. According to a report on Calvinayre.com, Paddy Power exited the Canadian lottery market in 2011 for similar reasons.
Though sports betting is currently not legal in Canada a few provinces, including Quebec, are considering allowing regulated wagering.
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