Revenue generated by iGaming and sports betting has seen significant growth due to the millions of players who have engaged with the 44 licensed operators in Ontario.
Ontario's online gambling industry celebrated its first anniversary on April 4th. Before the legalization of gambling in Ontario, players resorted to the grey market if they wanted to place a bet. As of spring 2022, however, this has changed with the launch of commercial iGaming. As a result, gambling revenues have seen a sharp increase due to the engagement of bettors with the 44 operators that received a licence in the first year. The Canadian province was ranked among the top-performing jurisdictions in the country in its first 12 months of existence. The local regulator's efforts aimed at creating healthy competition have resulted in exceeding expectations for iGaming and sports betting. Ontario has become proof that gambling crackdowns and financial success can be possible simultaneously and not mutually exclusive.
A Safe and Sustainable Market Was Created Thanks to Strong Competition
Statistically speaking, the first year of Ontario's online gambling market as a regulated entity has been more than successful. According to data from iGaming Ontario, over the last 12 months, players wagered $35.6 billion, which in turn contributed to $1.4 billion in gaming revenue.
The most popular gambling product among bettors is none other than sports betting. The reason is that Ontario residents can finally bet on their favourite sports at licensed operators without having to travel to another province to do so. An interesting statistic is that although hockey is the national sport of Canada, bets on it represent only 9% of the total. The sport that collects the largest number of bets and turns out to be the most popular is basketball with a result of 28%.
iGaming is also thriving and scoring very well. Slot machines account for the largest share of player bets at 48%, followed by live dealer games at 32%. Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said he is extremely pleased with the results achieved through the industry's efforts to displace the unregulated grey market and provide Ontarians with a safe gambling experience.
'We are truly proud of this strong, responsible, competitive online gaming model', he said.
Currently, Ontario has 44 licensed operators and 75 gaming websites, which, compared to the US states, significantly exceeds their number. The wide choice available to players now allows them to choose an operator according to their own preferences and needs. The presence of strong competition is a plus because it encourages operators to create innovations that favour the development of the entire ecosystem.
The Main Priority Continues to Be Safe Gambling
The results that the Canadian province was able to achieve in the first year of the emergence of the legal online gambling market of Ontario have achieved thanks to the presence of a competent and effective regulator, setting clear rules for the operators. The province of Ontario has strict rules against the advertising of gambling and the bonuses that operators offer upon registration in order to prevent the emergence of gambling habits among youth. The success of Ontario gambling sites is proof that revenue growth is possible without aggressive practices.
In addition to the significant revenue that exceeded everyone's expectations, the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario (AGCO) was able to sign off on another major achievement, namely the curbing of the distribution of unlicensed operators. Growing confidence in the regulated market has been registered, with 85% of online bettors placing bets on licensed sites by March 2023. The CEO of AGCO Tom Mungham is confident that the trend will continue, more players will migrate to safe and secure alternatives and the grey sector will be eliminated.
'Although there’s still much work to be done, we’re pleased to see such a substantial shift toward gaming on regulated sites', he pointed.
To sum up, the first year of legal online gambling in Ontario has achieved very good results and indicates that there is much room for growth in the field. Compared to Ontario, there are several US states with roughly the same number of residents that are underutilizing their potential. The market is gradually settling, and the presence of strong competition is a prerequisite for the introduction of many innovative solutions by operators to stand out from the rest.
Barry is a retired poker and blackjack professional from London, Ontario. He serves as our expert on a variety of poker and blackjack subjects, from in-depth strategies to tournaments and everything else in between.