Canadian sports bettors may exchange gifts this Christmas, but they won’t be exchanging wagers much longer after Betfair announced its intention to quit the Canadian market.
On Wednesday, Betfair’s Canadian customers reported receiving email notices that the betting exchange would “no longer be available to residents of Canada” as of midday (UK time) on Jan .14, 2016.
Customers have been advised to withdraw their account balances before that date, after which they’ll have to go through the hassle of contacting the site’s help desk to obtain their funds.
As of Jan. 14, Betfair says fixed-odds sportsbook bets, exchange bets and all gaming products will be inaccessible by Canadian customers. Canadian residents will also be blocked if they try to access the site when they’re outside Canada, which only serves to deepen the grinchy-greenish hue currently enveloping Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran (pictured).
All open sportsbook bets that settle after Jan. 14 will remain in place. Same with outstanding exchange bets but players are advised to manage any positions they have open in advance of that date.
Betfair offered no explanation for the change in policy, but the cause is likely due to the company’s planned merger with Irish betting operator Paddy Power. Paddy withdrew its services from the Canadian market in 2011 although the company continues to provide B2B services to the provincial lottery monopoly in British Columbia.
Canadian exchange betting fans are rapidly running out of options. In July 2014, Matchbook pulled its betting exchange from Canada for still ill-defined reasons. Ladbrokes announced its was withdrawing its main site from Canada in September 2014, and company’s exchange betting subsidiary Betdaq announced a similar skedaddle a few days later. So, er, joyeux noel, everyone.