Ontario igaming industry delivered C$1.5bn in economic benefits in first year

Canada flag with growth signs
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The Ontario igaming industry launched last year has provided C$1.5bn in positive economic contributions to the province in its first year of operations, a report has revealed. 

iGaming Ontario has released a report compiled by Deloitte detailing the impact the industry has had on the local economy, with the benefits clear to see. 

The report, released on the first full day of the Canadian Gaming Summit, noted that the industry had created 12,000 new jobs across the province, creating $900m in benefits via salary payments. 

Not only does the report outline that Onatrio’s market is providing lots of jobs, but many of those jobs are highly skilled, well-paying jobs. Deloitte confirmed that the average salary across the market is C$103,000, way over the C$73,000 average salary. 

Ontario igaming provides provincial and federal benefits

The opening of the market helped the Ontario provincial government, led by the Progressive Conservative’s Doug Ford, fulfill its aim of attracting more STEM-related jobs to the region. Given the technological nature of gaming, plenty of skilled, well-paid careers such as R&D, and fraud services are available, contributing to the economic benefits. 

Speaking to SBC Americas at the Canadian Gaming Summit, Paul Burns, President & CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, said: “It’s having a real impact on the Canadian and Ontario economies. And we have a broad spectrum of operators but also suppliers that have joined this market.

“One of the things that the Deloitte report talked about in this building upon some of the infrastructure Ontario had. The human capital, being able to leverage partnerships with other high value-add sectors, the tech innovation that’s already going on here, and obviously, being able to create the marketplace in the first place.”

One of the main arguments for online gaming regulation is the benefit it can bring to society via taxation payments. Proponents in Ontario played this card throughout the process. The report reveals they were not wrong. 

The industry provided Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party government with $761m in revenue in year one and the report projects that number grows to almost $2.2bn in ten years.

Such visible economic benefit for the federal government may provide a boost for Trudeau and the Liberal Party, which is currently mid-way through its third term in office, but with a minority in parliament and over 50% disapproval rating. 

Reaction and analysis from the Canadian Gaming Summit

SBC Media gathered some opinions from around the exhibition floor live at the Canadian Gaming Summit on the report. It is clear from the response that stakeholders believe this is just the start of a long-term economic boost for Ontario. 

While some have suggested that 46 operators is too crowded for the market and consolidation is on the horizon, Burns stated that this report suggests there is room for many to succeed, and that is by design.

“Today’s report reveals that the newly regulated igaming market in Ontario is delivering real benefits to every resident of Ontario, whether they play or not,” said Dave Forestell, Chair of iGaming Ontario. “The igaming industry is a real economic driver in Ontario. Together, we can help realize our goal of leading the world’s best gaming market right here at home.”

“Over the past year, Ontario’s igaming market has been internationally recognized for creating a safe, legal, and competitive landscape while supporting the province’s economy and displacing the existing unregulated market,” added Attorney General Doug Downey. “By driving innovation, creating exciting new opportunities for workers, and providing protection and choice for players, this made-in-Ontario market will remain a global leader in this sector.”

Operators must commit to a local force to win 

The operators represented on the panel along with Burns echoed how vital having boots on the ground in Ontario has been for their success and also lauded the province for its talent pool.

“We felt a very strong need to put staff here. We have a Toronto office. We rely on our tech through our ownership via Entain and obviously, with the MGM side of our business,” noted BetMGM Canada CEO Scott Woodgate

“A strong part of that omnichannel perspective already existed in Canada. So, from our perspective, it was a strong need. We do have a staff of AML, customer service, and creative across pretty much every vertical and we’re very thankful for the fact that we did that right away because I think we’d be behind the eight ball if we didn’t.”

Amanda Brewer, Country Lead for Canada at Kindred Group, summed up why operators thought it was in their best interest to set up shop locally and contribute to the economic growth in the province.

“You cannot compare the Ontario experience to anything you see in Europe and you cannot compare it to anything you see south of the border. Ontario is a very unique market. How gaming is conducted and managed, which are two words that don’t exist anywhere else in the world, is very unique to Canada.”