Not Too Shabby: Ontarian Online Gambling Sector Reveals Promising Stats
Just a year after Ontario legalized online gambling, the province became one of North America’s top five iGaming jurisdictions, as players engaged with the region’s 44 licensed operators, spending CA$35.6 billion during this initial year, and contributing to an annual gaming revenue of CA$1.4 billion.
Sports wagering was the most popular product, with basketball being the sport that people bet on most (28%), followed by soccer, football, hockey, and baseball. Similarly, iGaming also experienced a massive boom. Unsurprisingly, slots came out as one of the most preferred categories, with as much as 48% of wagers owing to this much-loved casino game. Next, were live dealer table games with a lower (yet still impressive) 32% – great news if you like to play blackjack for real money.
Ontario’s Legalization Of The Online Gambling Market: A Successful Move
Ontario made history on April 4, 2022, by becoming the first province in Canada to establish a legal and regulated online gambling market. Since its launch, the iGaming Ontario platform has attracted an impressive number of players, with over 1.6 million active accounts registered across more than 40 affiliated operators’ websites. This achievement represents a significant milestone for the province’s gaming industry and has contributed to a thriving and competitive online gambling market.
A survey by Ipsos, dated April 3, 2023, revealed that 85% of participants who gambled in Ontario did so on websites that are regulated, as opposed to the situation before the launch of the legal market, where 70% of people gambled from unregulated sites. The change from unregulated sites to those operating within a legal market was a smooth one, with Ontario exceeding the operations of most US states, boasting 44 operators and 75 gaming websites live.
This success may be attributed to the highly competitive market, which gave a larger pool of options to players, allowing them to opt for the solution that best fits their individual needs. Besides, as competition was on the rise, operators felt the need to innovate, which ultimately benefitted the whole system.
Comments from Ontario Attorney General and iGaming Ontario Board Chair
Doug Downey, the Attorney General of Ontario expressed his pleasure at the annual results, acclaiming the industry’s success in replacing the formerly unregulated market with a safe, consumer-friendly environment, describing the current online gaming model as “strong, responsible, competitive.”
On a similar note, Dave Forestell, the board chair of iGaming Ontario, noted that since Ontario’s market opening, there has been new investment, more employment opportunities as well as “captured revenue that used to leave the province.” Moreover, Forestell believes that Ontario will soon become the top gaming jurisdiction across the globe.
Safe Gambling Remains On Top Of The Agenda
The first-year success of Ontario’s online gambling market was largely attributed to the competent and operative regulation provided by the Alcohol and Gambling Commission (AGCO). The region’s strict limitations on advertising and sign-up bonuses were designed to prevent youth gambling and promote responsible gambling practices. The impressive performance of operators in this strictly regulated environment highlights the fact that significant growth and profits can be achieved without resorting to predatory tactics.
In addition to its focus on promoting responsible gambling practices, AGCO has also been successful in limiting the proliferation of unlicensed operators. As of March 2023, approximately 85% of online gamblers preferred licensed websites, indicating a growing trust in the regulated market. AGCO CEO Tom Mungham expressed confidence that this trend would continue and that more players would seek licensed alternatives.
While there is still much work to be done, the shift toward regulated gaming sites is a positive development. Ontario’s online gambling market is a prime example of how a well-regulated industry can thrive, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for players while generating revenue for the government.