Ontario Almost Doubles Online Sports Betting and iGaming in Latest Quarter

Even as it faces a legal threat and concerns about gambling ads, Ontario's regulated iGaming market continues to grow.

Geoff Zochodne - Senior News Analyst at Covers.com
Geoff Zochodne • Senior News Analyst
Jan 26, 2023 • 17:41 ET • 2 min read
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The competitive market for online sports betting sites and internet casinos in Canada’s most populous province saw wagering almost double in its most recent quarter, as iGaming in Ontario appears to be gaining even more traction.

Numbers reported on Thursday by government agency iGaming Ontario (iGO) show total wagering in the province's regulated market for private operators was $11.5 billion for the three months that ended December 31, a 90.9% increase over the preceding quarter. That wagering does not include promotional action, such as free bets and other bonuses.

Total gaming revenue generated by private operators from iGaming and online sports betting in Ontario rose to $457 million last quarter as well, up 71.2% from the three months before. 

There was quarter-to-quarter growth in all the categories reported by iGO, which does not disclose how much of its handle or revenue is attributable to sports betting and how much to casino gaming or poker. The number of operators rose to 36 from 24, gaming websites to 68 from 42, active player accounts to approximately 910,000 from 628,000, and average monthly spend by accounts to $167 from $142. 

Ontario launched a regulated market for iGaming in April, which allows private-sector operators of online sportsbooks, casinos, and poker to take bets. The regulatory framework is the first of its kind for Canada, where most other provinces have opted to stick with their government-owned lotteries to deliver online gambling.

There is still a government-owned lottery in Ontario taking online bets, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG), but its financial results are not reported in iGO’s figures. OLG conducts and manages gaming on its own, unlike the private operators that contract with iGO. 

Whether other provinces follow Ontario’s example remains to be seen. There has been pushback about the amount and approach of advertising tied to the launch of the province's iGaming market.

However, the unique structure of the iGaming market also caused concern it could be ripe for legal challenges. One of those was announced in November, as the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke claimed the province’s regulatory scheme is illegal

While that legal threat plays out, iGaming in Ontario continues to grow. The market generated $4.1 billion in wagering in its first quarter, when only 18 operators were active. 

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