Ontario igaming soars to top five North America market within one year

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iGaming Ontario (iGO) has published its first full-year of operations market performance report for the Ontario igaming market, revealing the province now resides among the top five jurisdictions in North America.

The Ontario igaming market went live on Apr. 4, 2022, and has since delivered an estimated C$35.6bn ($26.41bn) in total wagers and approximately C$1.4bn ($1.04bn) in total gaming revenue.

That’s despite a relatively slow start on entry, when 18 regulated operators generated almost C$4.1bn ($3.1bn) from April through June and revenue came in at C$162m ($124m).

“Ontario’s igaming market has displaced the pre-existing unregulated market and made Ontario a recognized leader internationally in this industry since its launch in April 2022,” proclaimed Attorney General Doug Downey.

“We are truly proud of this strong, responsible, competitive online gaming model. I want to especially commend the strong leadership of Executive Director Martha Otton, Board Chair Dave Forestell and the rest of the team at iGaming Ontario for helping us transform Ontario into a global leader in the sector.”

Ontario igaming market has 1.6m monthly players

According to iGO, more than 1.6 million active player accounts – on websites run by 40-plus operators it has agreements with – have made the province ‘the most competitive market in continental North America’.

On average, the monthly spend per active player account over the last year is about C$70 ($51.92).

“Every player who places a wager with a legal operator is doing so in a safe, regulated, and protected environment,” said Otton.

“I want to thank the players, our 40-plus operators and our government partners for placing their trust in us. Together we can help this market continue its strong performance.”

Furthermore, opening a regulated market appears to have had the required effect on the majority of bettors, with an Ipsos survey conducted last month – and released yesterday by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) – indicating that around 85% of respondents who gambled online in Ontario over the past three months did so on regulated sites.

Notable betting trends

Meanwhile, an analysis of the most popular sports to bet on saw basketball (28%) come out on top, followed by soccer (15%), football (14%), hockey (9%) and baseball (8%).

Within the online casino category, 48% of all casino wagers were on slots, 32% on table games with a live dealer, and the remainder (19%) on computer-based table games.

“Today’s numbers demonstrate that Ontario has one of the best online gaming markets in the world,” added Forestell. “Since Ontario opened the market we have seen new investment, job creation, and captured revenue that used to leave the province.

“Ontario is well on its way to becoming the best gaming jurisdiction in the world.”

How does Ontario’s online casino market compare to US markets?

Achieving over $1bn in revenue is a laudable achievement for Ontario, especially considering the slow start that the province enjoyed in its opening quarter. 

However, when putting these numbers against similarly sized US states, it adds a little context and perhaps shows that there is plenty of room to grow in the coming years. 

The $1.04bn in revenue includes all forms of online gambling, excluding the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s figures, given that it is a crown provincial organization run on behalf of the government. 

In Michigan’s first full year of online casino and sports betting operations – from January 2021 to January 2022 – the state’s operators took $1.11bn in online casino revenue alone. Taking on board the $319.5m taken in online sports betting revenue, The Great Lake State generated $1.43bn in revenue in its first 12 months, significantly higher than that of Ontario. 

Other similarly sized states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania launched in different contexts, the former in 2013 and the latter in 2019/20 (hampered by the pandemic), therefore the comparisons are difficult to draw. 

However, in 2022, New Jersey’s online casino and online sports betting market generated $2.39bn in revenue, dwarfing that of Ontario, though the Garden State is of course a much more mature market. 

Over in Pennsylvania, the combined online gambling market generated $1.76bn in revenue during 2022, 40.9% more than Ontario. 

With Ontario having a larger population than these three states, it is clear that, whilst the market performance was strong in the opening year, there is potential for further growth in the years to come. 

Operators are also eager to express their pride in the performance of the market as well as reiterate the potential that it holds in the future. 

George Sweny, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Flutter International, explained: “At Flutter, we are so proud of Ontario’s success in establishing a regulated and competitive igaming market over the past year. 

“We invested in growing our local Canadian team to launch a full range of both FanDuel and PokerStars’ safe and trusted products as registered operators in the province, allowing Ontario sports fans and Casino players to engage responsibly.”

Meanwhile, Bruce Caughill, MD of Canada at RSI and Member of the CGA Board, added: “It has been an exciting first year for BetRivers in the province. We have enjoyed a positive and receptive response from customers to our many products. 

“It has been great collaborating with iGaming Ontario, who has been instrumental in making this launch a success for all stakeholders.”

Editor’s Note: Additional reporting from Charlie Horner