With the launch of Ontario‘s regulated iGaming market just over a month away, a new sports betting study suggests there’s plenty of work to do in order to educate prospective bettors in Canada.
Deloitte Canada released its study titled “Bettor Perspectives” this week, which highlights how organizations can win in the new world of Canadian sports betting. The online survey, conducted from Sept. 22, 2021-Oct. 1, 2021, polled more than 1,000 Canadian consumers aged 18 or older, including likely bettors and non-bettors from varying financial situations and geographical regions.
It’s important to note that Canada legalized single-event sports wagering on Aug. 27, roughly one month prior to the study being conducted. Deloitte Canada estimates that single-event sports betting could result in $28 billion in legal-market wagers within five years of legalization.
The study concluded that there are important differences across the Canadian sports betting community, and that there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to acquiring customers. Consumers were broken into three categories — ardent bettors, casual bettors, and potential bettors — for the purpose of the study.
According to the study’s findings, ardent bettors account for approximately 8.5% of the Canadian sports-betting community. They bet often and for higher stakes, wagering $50 or more on average on a single bet, and have wagered $1,000 or more over the previous 12 months. This group identifies as 56.3% male and is predominantly aged 44 or younger (68.9%). Ardent bettors are likely to have slightly higher incomes than those in either of the other two groups in the study.
Casual bettors make up 33% of this market. They bet less frequently and for lower stakes compared to the ardent group. Casual bettors wager less than $50 on average on a single bet and placed less than $1,000 in bets over the previous 12 months. Roughly 58% identify as male and skew slightly older than ardent bettors, with 51% aged 44 or younger.
Potential bettors didn’t place any wagers over the previous 12 months, but are open to doing so now with sports betting legislation. Potential bettors make up 58.5% of the sports betting community. The majority identify as female (57%), are young to middle aged (25-64 years old), and tend to have slightly lower incomes than both of the other groups.
Canada’s #sportsbetting industry has enormous potential if organizations can understand the different consumer categories and deliver tailored experiences. Learn more: https://t.co/nZeIBWsNYx pic.twitter.com/patV9gHXQY
— Deloitte Canada (@DeloitteCanada) February 23, 2022
- Nearly 38% of respondents either placed sports wagers over the past 12 months or are potentially interested in doing so in the future.
- Only one in five Canadian adults was aware that single-event sports betting is now legal in the country. Just over 37% of respondents expressed an eagerness in placing legal sports event wagers, but were unlikely to do so, citing a lack of information and uncertainty about how betting work would under the new rules.
- Nearly 67% of respondents expressed interest in placing single-game wagers now that it is legal. One in three (32.8%) said they’d be eager to place micro-bets (i.e., in-game wagers or props), while one in four (24.9%) would be keen to make parlay bets.
- 50% of respondents look for a trusted brand.
- 41.7% seek rapid win payouts.
- 34.8% search for the best odds.
- Prospective bettors intend to place 49% of their wagers online compared to 45.4% earmarked for retail locations, casinos, or sportsbooks, while 5.6% will bet using other channels.
- 39.4% of respondents are fine with sports venues as currently constructed, while 43.6% say they’d love to see a new players’ lounge in sports venues. Two-thirds of ardent bettors want lounges, while only 54.1% of casual bettors want lounges.
- About 84% of ardent bettors say they’ll probably play other online casino games through sports betting sites upon legislative changes.
- Those who consider themselves superfans of North American sports leagues tend to wager less frequently and in smaller amounts. Those who bet more often and make larger wagers show interest in organizations and sports beyond those in the top North American leagues — including women’s sports leagues and the video games/eSports sector.
Deloitte’s recommendations to satisfy ardent bettors include providing them with unique experiences to capitalize on the group’s craving for action. These bettors are looking for a wide array of offerings, quick payouts, sports lounges, and VIP experiences. And ardent bettors aren’t afraid to shop around and spend time researching their bets.
A slightly different approach is suggested for targeting casual bettors, who identify as sports fans first and bettors second. The social experience of betting is important to this group, so the study suggests sports teams and sportsbooks work together to offer fun betting experiences (more focus on prop/novelty bets) and free-to-play games to help further educate and engage this group of bettors.
It’s recommended that sportsbooks and lotteries invest heavily in education programs in order to convert potential bettors into regular players. This group will need to thoroughly understand what single-event betting is and what other kind of bets can be made. Attractive welcome packages (online and in casinos) and bonuses will be crucial to drawing initial interest from this group. Free-to-play contests and low-risk games could be useful tools to slowly convert the group into casual sports bettors.
Industry leaders from PointsBet and FanDuel recently discussed their strategies for winning over Ontario’s bettors, reiterating many of the sentiments of this study for increased education and responsible gaming practices.
Great sports betting panel @IveySLC. @nicsulsky @jordangnat and Conor Murray @FanDuel with some great insight on the planned Ontario sports betting market. https://t.co/jucZetfIL1
— gregwarrenBC (@GregwarrenBC) January 24, 2022
Points to consider
- The timing of the study — one month after single-event wagering was legalized in Canada — needs to be taken into consideration. At the time of the study, many provinces still hadn’t launched their government-run online sportsbooks yet (Nova Scotia didn’t approve single-game wagering until Feb. 11), or had just launched a few weeks prior. The concept of widespread sports betting in the country outside of parlay-style betting with PROLINE games was still very foreign. The sports betting landscape has changed dramatically across Canada since early October, with Ontario announcing the launch of its regulated iGaming market on April 4, putting an end to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s monopoly on sports betting in the province. The country, and especially Ontario, is now experiencing a sports betting advertising blitz, which is captivating cable TV and online audiences. Alberta also announced in December that it plans to allow two private operators to conduct business in the province, further raising the profile of sports betting there.
- This study group only consisted of 1,000 respondents to an online survey. The small sample size isn’t ideal, and it would’ve been interesting to see a breakdown of which provinces these respondents reside in across Canada. A request for this information was made with Deloitte, but Sports Handle was told the data would not be made public. Ontario stakeholders announced in early September that they had interest in inviting private sportsbooks into the market, creating a media buzz there, but all of the other provinces across Canada were mum on the topic at the time. If the majority of respondents in this study reside in Ontario — Canada’s most-populous province with roughly 15 million people — the results may not be an accurate representation of sports bettors across Canada.