TORONTO — Sports-betting in Ontario produced $162 million in revenues over the first three months of operation but that’s still much lower than comparable American gaming jurisdictions.
According to Dave Briggs, a managing editor with PlayCanada.com, Ontario’s first-quarter revenue converts to roughly US$125 million. That figure is less than second-quarter reports of established gaming jurisdictions like New Jersey ($557 million), Pennsylvania ($521 million) and Michigan ($466 million), which all have both online sports betting and online casinos.
“Ontario is at a quarter of comparable jurisdictions when I thought it would be half,” Briggs said. “That would be a good start, a decent start.
“Part of that is, of course, it’s the first three months. They’re just getting started and not everybody is in. I didn’t expect we’d rival any of those (top-three jurisdictions) but we also have an established gambling industry in Ontario and we have 15 million people so it’s not like it’s a brand new market and it’s not a small.”
Especially considering Ontario’s figures are just 22 per cent of what New Jersey brought in. The numbers are 24 per cent what Pennsylvania’s revenues and 27 per cent of what Michigan brought in. All of this despite Ontario having a bigger population than Pennsylvania (13 million residents), Michigan (10 million) and New Jersey (nine million).
PlayCanada.com is a site that produces news, analysis and research related to online gaming and sports betting in Canada.
Ontario’s sports-betting industry opened fully April 4. On Tuesday, iGaming Ontario (iGO) released its first public report for the first full quarter of market operations, ending June 30.
In the report, iGO stated Ontario online gambling platforms took in $4.076 billion in total wagers over the first three months, excluding promotional wagers (bonuses). That produced a total revenue of $162 million from 492,000 active-player accounts. There were a total of 18 operators and 31 igaming websites active during that time.
But the numbers in the report don’t include figures from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp’s online operations, which are reportedly at record levels. And also, many grey-market operators continued to do business in the province over the first three months as they worked to gain government approval.
That should mean increased future revenue numbers from Ontario. Briggs said there are now 26 legal operators, which includes the OLG.
“But we are talking about July, August and September,” Briggs said. “You must consider two of those months are the weakest months, at least on the sports-betting side because there’s little going on now.
“Now, the first quarter didn’t have much going on except for the March Madness championship game. Will the second quarter be better? I think it has to be based on people getting comfortable and trying it out and more operators being available to people.”
The NFL season kicks off in September, which Briggs said should help the second quarter.
“You’ll get a kick, for sure,” he said. “But I think you’ll see a definite increase in the third quarter when the NFL is in full swing and we’ll also have the World Series, which is reasonably well bet.
“The fourth (quarter) is that winter period where you’ve got football playoffs and the Super Bowl, which is going to be the biggest one, you’re going to have March Madness, you’re going to have NHL and NBA playoffs.”
However, iGO’s report didn’t provide specifics regarding how much of Ontario’s revenues came from sports betting and online casinos or how much tax revenue was generated for the provincial government. There was also no details regarding how particular operators are doing.
“What was actually released, not the actual figures themselves, it was extremely underwhelming,” Briggs said. “There was very little information there.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2022.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press