Coolbet to exit Ontario in early April amid competitive online sports betting environment

Coolbet is exiting the Ontario online gaming market in early April, the sports betting brand announced last week. “We strongly encourage you to withdraw your funds as soon as possible,” the operator said as it prepares to cease operations in Canada’s most populous province.

Ahead of the exit date, the brand will implement a transition period to tie up all loose ends. The online sportsbook and casino will turn off all deposit options tomorrow (March 21) before closing its gaming operations on Wednesday (March 22). The last step will see Coolbet shutter its site and mobile app for good on April 3. 

Bets that cannot be settled by Wednesday because the outcome is still unknown will be voided and refunded. This includes futures and parlays; if outcomes are not known the part of that parlay will be voided and odds set to 1.00.

The GAN-owned brand was among the first operators to launch in the province’s regulated iGaming market when it went live last April. A year later, the operator exits Ontario as the province becomes crowded, with more than 70 brands fighting for their piece of the iGaming pie.

“We strongly encourage you to withdraw your funds as soon as possible,” Coolbet said in a blog post. “In case you have not made any withdrawals before, we would require you to verify your bank account that will be used to pay out your remaining balance.”

Dermot S. Smurfit, CEO of GAN

While Ontario presented an attractive opportunity for Coolbet upon launch, the brand has faced a harsh operational climate since. In August last year, Dermot S. Smurfit, CEO of gaming technology provider GAN, which acquired Coolbet in 2021, said they had a “slower-than-anticipated” start in the province.

The company has credited its hardships in Ontario to “an intensely competitive environment,” which could explain why it is now pulling the plug in the province. Still, Coolbet remains available in other parts of Canada.

Ontario charges online gaming brands around 20% of their revenue to operate in the province. Companies can apply for a one or two-year permit but must pay an annual regulatory fee of $100,000 per gaming site.

As the market approaches its first year of legal online gaming, more brands could be weighing whether to also exit the province. The highly competitive environment makes it harder to see a path to profitability, in particular for brands that are not among the leading spots.

Coolbet’s statement concluded: “Thank you for all the good times, and always remember…Stay Cool. Bet Responsibly.” The sports betting operator remains live in other international markets including Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Chile, and Peru.