Ontarians wagered more than $4 billion (CAD) and the market produced $162 million total gaming revenue — from iCasino, online sports betting, and online poker — for the period of April 4-June 30, according to the first revenue report released by iGaming Ontario. (As of Aug. 30, $1 CAD is equal to $0.76 USD.)
The $4.076 billion in total wagers does not include promotional wagers, and the total gaming revenue of $162 million is total cash wagers, including rake fees, tournament fees, and other fees across 18 total operators and 31 gaming websites.
The regulator is also reporting that there were 492,000 active player accounts with an average monthly spend of $113 per user.
“Our aim is to be the best gaming jurisdiction in the world and these positive results are an early sign that we’re on our way,” said Dave Forestell, iGO’s board chair, in the release. “With a competitive revenue share rate and low barriers to entry, Ontario is an attractive igaming market with a strong player base.”
Regulators also formally announced that they intend to release these reports, at minimum, on a quarterly basis in the future. They’re also promising more metrics relating to gaming product segments, player protections, player demographics, and the economic impact of the iGaming industry.
It’s important to note that these figures don’t include iGaming revenue from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which offers a comprehensive iCasino and retail and online sports betting platform. PROLINE + was the first online sportsbook to launch in Ontario shortly after Canada decriminalized single-event wagering on Aug. 27 of last year.
It’s also unclear how much revenue the former gray market (now black market) operators, who have been in business for decades in the province, have generated during this span. The black market and offshore sports betting market in Canada was valued at $14 billion before the launch of the new regulated market, according to the Canadian Gaming Association.
Data delay down to ‘diligence’
Many industry stakeholders expressed frustration with the delay in releasing the first revenue report after regulators stated at the Canadian Gaming Summit in June that they’d be released “very shortly.”
The delay was addressed in iGO’s email release:
“We realize that this report has been highly anticipated and we have appreciated your patience for the time and diligence taken to achieve the desired accuracy of this data.”
Ontario’s provincial election was held on June 2, and the government led by the Progressive Conservative Party’s Doug Ford was re-elected. Many elected government officials take significant vacation time during the summer months, which may have slowed government administration processes.
CGA President Paul Burns previously told Sports Handle the numbers were experiencing an administrative delay.
“It’s not anything purposeful. They [regulators] need sign-off. And I don’t think they’ve got that yet. When they do, they’ll release them. They want to release them. I know operators want to see them,” he said.
The province’s 2022 spring budget estimated that iGaming Ontario will generate net income of $18 million CAD in 2022-23, $26 million in 2023-24, and $31 million in 2024-25.
— iGaming Ontario (@iGamingOntario) August 30, 2022
How does Ontario stack up?
In looking at four U.S. states that offer some comparable quarterly metrics to Ontario, two states — Pennsylvania and Connecticut — provide handle for both sports wagering and iGaming. Two others — New Jersey and Michigan — have estimates for iGaming handle based on a 2.78% hold. That hold was based upon the combined handle and revenue totals from Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
Ontario regulators did not provide a breakdown of revenue by discipline, so we’re left guessing what the weight of the sports betting-to-iGaming ratio was.
Here are some of the comparable U.S. state Q2 revenue numbers (April-June) to Ontario, which is home to roughly 15 million Canadians, from Sports Handle‘s numbers wizard Chris Altruda (figures in U.S. dollars):
Pennsylvania (population: 12.79M)
- Sports wagering handle: $1,459,662,482
- Sports wagering gross gaming revenue: $119,801,438
- iGaming handle: $11,969,823,536
- iGaming gross gaming revenue: $329,339,072
- Total sports wagering and iGaming handle: $13,429,486,018
- Total sports wagering/iGaming gross gaming revenue: $449,140,510
Handle breakout: 89.13% iGaming/10.87% sports wagering
Revenue breakout: 73.33% iGaming/26.67% sports wagering
Connecticut (population 3.57M)
- Sports wagering handle: $327,067,206
- Sports wagering gross gaming revenue: $24,472,874
- iGaming handle: $2,210,211,971
- iGaming gross gaming revenue: $64,644,035
- Total sports wagering and iGaming handle: $2,537,279,177
- Total sports wagering/iGaming gross gaming revenue: $89,116,909
Handle breakout: 87.11% iG/12.89% SW
Revenue breakout: 72.54% iG/27.46% SW
Michigan (population 9.97M)
- Sports wagering handle: $1,044,529,609
- Sports wagering gross gaming revenue: $84,377,332
- iGaming handle (est): $13,716,946,079
- iGaming gross gaming revenue: $381,331,101
- Total sports wagering and iGaming handle: $14,761,475,688
- Total sports wagering/iGaming gross gaming revenue: $465,708,433
Handle breakout: 92.92% iG/7.08% SW
Revenue breakout: 81.88% iG/18.12% SW
New Jersey (population 8.89M)
- Sports wagering handle: $2,326,543,993
- Sports wagering gross gaming revenue: $151,185,037
- iGaming handle (est): $14,605,707,302
- iGaming gross gaming revenue: $406,038,663
- Total sports wagering and iGaming handle: $16,932,251,295
- Total sports wagering/iGaming gross gaming revenue: $557,223,700
Handle breakout: 86.26% iG/13.74% SW
Revenue breakout: 72.87% iG/27.13% SW
Based off these comparable numbers, and assuming Ontario consumers have somewhat similar betting habits to those of their nearby American states, iGaming could account for roughly 90% of the $4.076 billion in total wagers announced for Q1 in Ontario.
Just the beginning
Ontario’s first revenue numbers aren’t mind-blowing, but they were never expected to be.
Many private operators and industry stakeholders have described the launch of Ontario’s regulated market as a marathon, not a sprint. The overall consensus is that it will take an entire calendar year in order to get an accurate picture of the potential of the market.
Gray market operators have dominated the Canadian and the Ontario market for decades. Two operators that are estimated to have a huge market share in Ontario — Betway and Sports Interaction — have only recently converted to the regulated market. A few more, like Pinnacle, BetRegal, and Bet99, are also expected to join the fold soon. Once all five of these operators are up and running at full capacity, the revenue numbers should become much more accurate.
— iGaming Ontario (@iGamingOntario) August 29, 2022
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has proposed a new Standard that would set an Oct. 31 deadline for operators to transition out of the unregulated market. A hard deadline would push gray operators currently in limbo to get licensed.
The proposed Standard will create an obligation for operators and suppliers to cease any direct unregulated activities in Ontario, and to end any agreements or arrangements with third parties who are carrying out activities in the unregulated market. The implementation of this proposed Standard may require some applicants to shutter their gaming sites in Ontario until they have satisfied the requirements of both the AGCO and iGaming Ontario (iGO).
Another factor to take into consideration is that the market launched at an inopportune time for operators, on April 4. Ontario’s bettors didn’t have the ability to wager on major events like the Winter Olympics, Super Bowl, and the NFL season.
The Q3 revenue numbers from Ontario’s regulators should reflect the anticipated high betting interest on NFL games, the FIFA World Cup, and the CFL’s Grey Cup, while other popular sports in the province like basketball and hockey will also be in full swing.
Ontario regulators also instituted strict advertising restrictions surrounding bonuses and inducements, making it more difficult for operators to entice customers.
Finally, Ontario’s market is expected to grow considerably throughout the course of the year. Up to 70 different brands could be licensed in Ontario by the end of the year, regulators said at the Canadian Gaming Summit. With revenue data only accounting for 18 operators and 31 gaming sites in Q1, these numbers should rise drastically as more operators jump on board.
Operator comparison unavailable
Unfortunately, Tuesday’s revenue report from regulators didn’t include any information on operator market share.
The operator reported roughly $14.32 million (CAD) in handle, and its 4.2% win margin translated to approximately $630,000 (CAD) in gross winnings after paying out customers.
Many other operators abstained from releasing any Ontario financials until regulators put out the first revenue report. We could see a landslide of information from individual operators shortly now that those floodgates have been opened.
“The market report released today by iGaming Ontario speaks for itself. With 492,000 active player accounts, total cash wagers of [$4.076-billion], and a total gaming revenue of $162 million, the desire for a regulated market is strong,” PointsBet Canada CEO Scott Vanderwel said in an email statement after regulators revealed the revenue data Tuesday.
According to VIXIO Gambling Compliance’s Canada Online Data Dashboard, the Ontario iGaming market is estimated to be worth gross gaming revenue of approximately $1.6 billion CAD this year, rising to $2.36 billion in 2023.
Chris Altruda contributed to this article.