Recently, Ontario marked the one-year anniversary of the opening of the iGaming market for third-party operators, which recorded more than CA$35 billion in batch bets in its first 12 months. Andrew Daly, vice president of Ontario Lottery and Games Corporation at the SBC Summit North America, said OLG’s trading volume and earnings combined could make it the world’s No. 1 market.
In April 2022, Ontario opened Canada’s first legal iGaming market for private operators. It is governed by Ontario’s Alcohol and Game Commission and its subsidiary, iGaming Ontario, and has attracted much attention from the betting industry around the world. It was introduced to deal with a huge offshore market involving many locals.
Ontario’s newly introduced market handled more than CA$35.6 billion in total bets in the first 12 months of operation. This translated into approximately C$1.4 billion in gaming revenue, with 40 operators operating 76 websites or apps in their jurisdiction. According to data from regulators, the iGaming segment currently has more than 1.6 million active user accounts.
In a recent discussion with Ontario-based Vice President of SBC Summit North America OLG, I shared a few words about the iGaming market running and its performance. Combined with OLG’s numbers, he said, the private market could be large enough to compete with the world’s leading markets. However, the crown remained undisclosed at the time.
Studies have also confirmed that market introduction is effective and that many private operators have shifted to the regulatory sector. A poll by Ipsos found that 85% of betting respondents in the province did so on controlled websites. This is a significant improvement when 70% of players used illegal websites before the market launch.
IGaming Ontario reported that players spent an average of C$70 per month in the first 12 months. Surprisingly, basketball was the state’s most lucrative sport after soccer, soccer, hockey, and baseball. Meanwhile, for online casinos, slots accounted for 48% of bets, table games accounted for nearly a third, and computer-based table games represented nearly a third of the remaining volumes.
A few weeks ago, Ontario’s Alcohol and Game Commission came up with a proposal to ban sports stars from appearing in game ads. This was related to a huge uproar between experts and parents from the region, as advertising featuring professional athletes became quite common. According to experts, this may not be good because young viewers idolize such individuals.
Meanwhile, Ontario’s largest horse racing operator Woodbine Entertainment says it is working to integrate betting on horses with local operators by the end of the year. Under current law, the only legal form of betting on horse racing is through an integrated Paris Mutuel model managed by the federal government, but this could soon be changed.