Michigan casinos are likely already getting more visits from our neighbors to the north, and more Canadian sports bettors could be on the way this NFL postseason.
The playoffs open soon, deciding the two teams to compete for the Lombardi Trophy. Super Bowl LVI kicks off about 6:30 p.m. EST Feb. 13 at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
Sure, Canadians have their own brand of football in the form of the Canadian Football League. But the NFL is king there too, just as it is for sports betting in Michigan.
For many, cheering and wagering can happen from the comfort of a couch. With Canada sports betting regulations still getting sorted and COVID-19 cases hovering at dangerous levels, however, our Canadian neighbors wishing to place Super Bowl bets may need to come to Detroit.
Canadian relationship status with sports betting? It’s complicated
For Canadians, particularly those from Ontario, betting on sports is currently a complicated matter.
You can bet sports parlay wagers at some of Ontario’s 28 casinos, but those are currently closed again because of COVID restrictions.
You can also bet legally online in Ontario through Proline Plus sports betting, but that is run by the government’s Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. (Read: The prices in the non-competitive market are not great.)
You will soon be able to bet sports online through operators like BetMGM and FanDuel in Ontario. But the commercial markets launch date is an open question. Even optimistic Ontario sports betting launch timeframes cite estimates just after the NFL postseason ends.
You can cross the US border (for now), but you can’t create an online sports betting account in Michigan without a social security number, eliminating most Canadians. Once Canadian citizens do cross the border, they’re free to wager away in person at Michigan casinos (with masks on, of course, for now).
Got all that?
Life of the parlay continues for now at Ontario retail casinos
In August, the Canadian government passed the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, making single-event wagers lawful.
Government-run operations, such as Proline Plus quickly went live with the expanded betting options online.
Tony Bitonti, external communications director for OLG, said by email exchanges that the OLG is working to make single-game options available at physical lottery retail locations, too, hopefully by February.
“For the Super Bowl 2022, Ontario sports bettors will be able to place a bet on their favourite team on (Proline Plus), and we expect, at our retail locations,” Bitonti wrote.
Until then, just parlays remain available at physical spots in Ontario.
Canada sports bettors have huge appetite for American football
Stats from August through Dec. 31 so far show that the Super Bowl should draw big numbers from Canadian bettors.
Almost half of wagers on Proline Plus have been for American football. This is the latest breakdown from OLG:
- American Football: 41%
- Basketball: 17%
- Hockey: 16%
- Soccer: 12%
- Baseball: 11%
- Tennis: 3%
Since legalization, single-game wagers also are proving popular:
- Pregame Wagers: 60%
- In-Play Wagers: 40%
- Single-event bets: 71%
- Parlay bets (bet on three or more games): 29%
As for setting up sportsbooks in casinos, Bitonti said OLG is working with land-based gaming service providers to add more sports to the 11 available now.
Better odds over the border?
If Proline+ remains the only outlet for single-game betting come game day, Canadian bettors will more than likely find the best opportunities in Detroit. Markets with just one operator often offer poor odds. (Bitonti said Proline aims to offer dynamic, competitive odds for its base.)
Either way, for now, more choices do exist in Detroit, though operators and casinos aren’t yet ready to unveil promos for the big day.
A spokesperson from FanDuel Sportsbook said Super Bowl-related specials will be available closer to game time. We assume they’re just making sure no last-minute calculations bounce our beloved Detroit Lions into the showdown (Kidding, of course, maybe next lifetime).
We checked in with reps from the three Detroit casinos, who weren’t ready to share Super Bowl plans or promos. Numbers on any increases in Canadian traffic the casinos were also not yet available, following the Nov. 8 reopening of the Detroit-Windsor border for vaccinated, nonessential travel.
The Motown casinos remain open, but make sure to check each website for the latest COVID-19 protocols before visiting. Ontario closed all 28 of its casinos in the province on Jan. 5 with plans to reopen by Jan. 26, including Caesars Windsor.
Crossing the Canadian/Detroit border today (but check again tomorrow)
The Ontario casino closures on Wednesday came as officials moved the province back into a reopening phase to help mitigate rising cases and hospitalizations there. Closures, capacity limits, dining restrictions and more were reinstated.
The Public Health Agency of Canada also issued an advisory weeks ago stating even vaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential international travel because of the Omicron variant surge.
Canadian bettors therefore will need to comply with increased protocols to visit Detroit and to return home. The requirements set in November for the border reopening are still in effect, but potential travelers should keep checking as things change rapidly.
For non-essential travel entry into the United States, in addition to normally required documents, travelers must be fully vaccinated and have paperwork to prove it.
What counts as fully vaccinated these days?
- Two weeks after an accepted single-dose vaccine
- Two weeks after a second dose of an accepted two-dose series
- Two weeks after receiving a full series of an active (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.-based AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials
- Two weeks after receiving two doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart
Travelers entering or returning to Canada must use the ArriveCan service and be fully vaccinated by meeting the same requirements above with no signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
Additionally, those ages 5 and older traveling by land or water will need to take a molecular test outside of Canada within 72 hours of visiting/returning or provide proof of a previous negative test result taken between 14 and 180 days ago.
(After Jan. 15, the requirement is between 10 and 180 days ago).
Upon arrival at the Canadian border, required documents include:
- Pre-entry test results
- ArriveCAN receipt with the letter I or, V, or A beside the vaccinated traveler’s name
- Proof of vaccination that was uploaded into ArriveCAN (original or paper copy)
- Have a quarantine plan in case of positive results
- Travel document entered in ArriveCAN (e.g. passport)
Before traveling, be sure to check for up-to-date protocols.