Online gaming revenue soared in Ontario over the final three months of 2022, fueled by the first full quarter of regulated NFL single-game wagering involving the province’s commercial market.
During the third quarter of the 2022-23 fiscal year, Ontarians placed $11.5 billion (CAD) in iCasino, mobile sports betting, and online poker wagers, representing a 91% increase over the previous quarter. (As of Thursday afternoon, $1 CAD is equal to $0.75 USD.) Overall, Ontario bettors wagered more than $21.6 billion in the first nine months of legal online wagering in the province, a staggering figure for the calendar year. The handle does not include promotional wagers or bonuses, according to iGaming Ontario’s (iGO) Q3 Fiscal Year report released Thursday.
As expected, @iGamingOntario is reporting a massive jump in Q3 handle and revenue. pic.twitter.com/R2w7mmiIUN
— Greg Warren (@GregwarrenBC) January 26, 2023
The spike in wagering activity resulted in total third-quarter gaming revenue of $457 million, an increase of 71% over the second quarter. The figure represents total cash wagers, including rake fees, tournament fees and other fees, minus player winnings derived from cash wagers, for the three-month period ended Dec. 31. The total does not take into account operating costs or other liabilities, the iGO noted in the report.
When Canada decriminalized single-event sports betting in August 2021, proponents of legal sports betting were optimistic that the historic measure would shift a $14 billion per year industry from gray to legal markets.
Spike in operators, player accounts
During the third quarter, there were approximately 910,000 active player accounts across Ontario, representing an increase of 45% over the previous quarter. Since individuals may have accounts with multiple operators, the figure does not represent unique players, the iGO explained. But during the period, the average monthly spend per active player account came in at $167, up 18% from the second quarter.
In addition, the market ended the third quarter with 36 operators and 68 gaming websites, a quarter-over-quarter increase of 50% and 62%, respectively. One notable addition over the period was Pinnacle, a prominent iGaming and sports betting operator. Pinnacle, a longtime gray market operator, went live in Canada last October after making the transition to the regulated market.
The iGO does not provide a breakdown of handle or gross gaming revenue on an operator-by-operator basis.
Here comes Pinnacle.
The well-known gray-market operator will legally bring its reduced juice to Canada.
(via @jeffedelstein) https://t.co/TtebMEsaNv
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) September 8, 2022
Hectic sports period
On the sports betting side, the quarter should be viewed as unique from a historical perspective. The period represented the first full quarter that Ontario bettors could place legal, single-game wagers with private operators on the NFL, NBA, and the NHL. Both the Toronto Raptors of the NBA and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs opened their 2022-23 regular-season campaigns in the first month of the quarter.
Ontario has already seen a considerable regional bias in wagering on the Raptors. At BetMGM‘s Ontario sportsbook, wagers on the Raptors to win the NBA Championship represent 12.5% of all futures tickets. Across all North American markets, Raptors futures wagers comprise only 2.4% of all tickets on the market, a BetMGM trader told Sports Handle.
The market also received a boost from soccer’s 2022 FIFA World Cup, held over a month-long period through mid-December. Over the first week of the quadrennial event, several Ontario sportsbooks reported robust activity on the tournament. Although the handle dipped after the elimination of Canada in the group stage, operators were mostly pleased with betting activity for the world’s most popular sporting event.
While Canada will serve as one of three nations that will host the World Cup in 2026, the tournament will be held in the early summer. FIFA took the rare step of moving the 2022 World Cup to the winter due to the extreme summer heat in Qatar.
Moving forward, wagering activity in the fourth quarter could take a hit following the Bills’ upset loss in the NFL playoffs to the Bengals last Sunday. The Bills, the definitive favorite to win the Super Bowl at the start of the season, received over twice as much money to win the Lombardi Trophy as any other team at Caesars Sportsbook. In Ontario, one industry expert estimated that the Bills may have received more than 70% of the Super Bowl futures handle at select sportsbooks. The Canadian border crossing in Niagara Falls is within 30 miles of Buffalo.
Might be a little early to remind some of you of this https://t.co/Bs0HhlwMJE
— Joe Brennan Jr (@joebrennanjr) January 22, 2023
A plethora of leading sportsbook operators made their Ontario debut last April when the province went live with regulated sports betting and online gaming. Ontarians placed more than $4.07 billion in wagers over a three-month period ending June 30, 2022, resulting in total gaming revenue of $162 million.