Nearly five months after regulated iGaming and online sports betting launched in Ontario, we’re finally getting to see just how big the market is in Canada’s most populous province.
On Tuesday, iGaming Ontario (iGO), a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) responsible for managing licensed online sports betting and casino operators, issued its first quarterly report of activity.
According to the report, Ontario bettors wagered CAD$4.08 billion (US$3.11 billion) from the April 4 launch through June 30. The 31 websites offered by 18 operators reported total gaming revenues of CAD$162 million (US$123.8 million).
Our aim is to be the best gaming jurisdiction in the world, and these positive results are an early sign that we’re on our way,” Dave Forestell, iGO’s board chair, said in a statement. “With a competitive revenue share rate and low barriers to entry, Ontario is an attractive iGaming market with a strong player base.”
Those handle and revenue numbers were generated through approximately 492,000 active accounts that wagered either with cash or a promotion during the quarter. The organization noted that the number of unique players is likely smaller since bettors may have created accounts with multiple gaming apps.
Based on the number of accounts, the average monthly spend per account was CAD$113 (US$86).
The iGO figures also do not include PROLINE+, the sports betting and iGaming app of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
Early Ontario Numbers Lag
While iGO touted the initial metrics as a suggestion that Ontario gamblers want player protections provided by a regulated gaming entity, some analysts and experts found the numbers disappointing.
Capt. Jack Andrews compared the revenue figures of Ontario, a province of 14.5 million, with Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – states that have both iGaming and online sports betting. Despite each of the US states having far fewer residents than Ontario, all of the states vastly outperformed Ontario.
New Jersey, the smallest of the US states (8.9 million population) in the comparison, albeit with the most mature iGaming market of them all, posted operator revenues during the same quarter of more than US$557 million – 4.5 times (in US dollars) the amount operators in Ontario collected.
$162m in gaming revenue between iCasino, sportsbetting, & poker in Ontario (pop: 14.5m) from Apr 4 to Jun 30.
Apples to apples comparison with US states that offer all 3:
MI (pop: 10m): $381.3m
PA (pop: 12.8m): $441.6m
NJ (pop: 8.9m): $557.1m
— Captain Jack Andrews (@capjack2000) August 30, 2022
There may be a couple of explanations for this. First, while regulated iGaming and online sports betting were designed to root out the gray market operators that have dominated the market across Canada, some of those operators were still taking bets in the province at the time of the launch. Regulators have given those operators a path toward being approved the new market, and some have taken up the offer.
In addition, Ontario officials established some rigid guidelines around advertising. That includes restrictions against inducements like sign-up bonuses in public. So while Americans get bombarded with commercials and web ads touting deposit matches and “risk-free” bets, Canadians only see those if they’re visiting the operator’s site or they consent to receive promotional offers.
Already, AGCO has fined PointsBet, BetMGM, DraftKings, and Unibet for violating those advertising standards.
More Operators Have Joined in Recent Weeks
The next quarterly update should include higher revenue figures for Ontario operators. While that period – July through September – will include several weeks where sports betting opportunities were few and far between, iGO has brought on more operators.
As of Tuesday, 40 sites operated by 22 entities are currently offering sports betting, iGaming, and online poker.
Future quarterly reports will also include more detailed data, iGO said in the release. Among the data points officials intend to provide are player demographics, the industry’s economic impact, and information on online gaming segments.
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