The first year of operations for Ontario’s gambling market put the Canadian province among one of North America’s leading jurisdictions. Online sports betting and iGaming exceeded expectations thanks to the local regulator’s efforts to foster a diverse and flowing ecosystem promoting healthy competition. The region’s strict rules have proven that responsible gaming measures and financial success are not mutually exclusive.
Steep Competition Fostered a Safe and Sustainable Market
From a pure numbers perspective, Ontario’s first year as a regulated online gambling and sports betting has been nothing short of a smashing success. iGaming Ontario’s data reveals that players wagered roughly CA$ 35.6 billion ($26.37 billion), contributing to a yearly gaming revenue of CA$ 1.4 billion ($1.04 billion).
Sports wagering was the most popular product, allowing Ontarians to finally support their favorite teams without resorting to unlicensed operators or traveling to the USA. Despite hockey’s status as Canada’s national sport, it accounted only for 9% of wagers as opposed to basketball, which was the most popular at 28%.
iGaming likewise prospered, with slots making up 48% of all wagers, followed by live dealer table games at 32%. Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey was most pleased with the yearly results, lauding the industry’s successful efforts to displace the pre-existing unregulated market and provide bettors with a safe, consumer-friendly environment.
We are truly proud of this strong, responsible, competitive online gaming model.
Doug Downey, Ontario Attorney General
Ontario has 44 operators and 75 gaming websites live, significantly exceeding most US states. The increased player choice was instrumental in creating an even playing field and has allowed millions of players the opportunity to select the best solution for their individual needs. Steep competition has also prompted innovation from operators, benefiting the entire ecosystem.
Safe Gambling Remains a Top Priority
The Canadian province’s impressive year-one results were only possible thanks to a competent and effective regulator. The region has strict limits on advertising and sign-up bonuses, emphasizing youth gambling prevention. The enduring success of operators in such a strictly regulated environment is a testament that rapid growth and substantial profits are possible even without predatory practices.
Ontario’s Alcohol and Gambling Commission (AGCO)’s other significant achievement was its efforts to curb the proliferation of unlicensed operators. As of March 2023, around 85% of online gamblers preferred licensed websites, showing growing confidence in the regulated market. AGCO CEO Tom Mungham was confident that the trend would persist and more players would migrate to safe, licensed alternatives.
Although there’s still much work to be done, we’re pleased to see such a substantial shift toward gaming on regulated sites.
Tom Mungham, AGCO CEO
Ontario’s first year shows promising results with ample room for further growth. Several US states with similar populations significantly outperform Ontario, showcasing much-untapped potential. As the market settles down and competition takes its toll, the remaining operators will be free to develop their market share and enjoy their hard-earned victory.