Ontario’s legal online gambling market brought in $162 million in revenue in its first quarter of operation, according to new figures that give a first look at the province’s efforts to regulate and profit from the old gray market in internet betting.
The provincial agency that manages the online sports betting and casino market, iGaming Ontario (iGO), released the numbers on Tuesday and said it would release regular quarterly data on the industry.
The agency said Ontarians placed a total of $4.1 billion in online bets in the three months ended June 30. There were nearly 500,000 active accounts and the average gamer was spending $113 per month, iGO said.
Main revenue is the total the operators brought in after paying out player winnings and does not represent the profit the government will ultimately receive.
IGO confirmed to The Star on Tuesday that the licensed operator tax rate has been set at 20% (the industry term for this is “revenue share rate”), which would translate to approximately $32 million. dollars for provincial coffers during the quarter.
Paul Burns, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association (a lobby group for the gaming industry, which bills itself as the “gaming” business), said the first quarter numbers are “a positive reflection of interest in the market,” but he added there is room to grow.
Burns predicted an increase in revenue figures over the next few quarters, noting that several big name operators, including PokerStars and Betway, did not officially join the Ontario market until the middle of the first quarter or in July and August. Sports betting also increases significantly in the fall with the start of the NFL season, he said.
Other leading players in the international online gambling and sports betting industry such as Bet365, DraftKings and BetMGM have registered to operate legally in the province, bringing many of their pre-existing users with them. .
Another market entrant is NorthStar Bets, owned by NordStar, an investment company run by Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett, which also owns Torstar, the owner of this newspaper.
There were 18 carriers with a total of 31 igaming websites as of June 30, iGO said (some carriers run multiple different sites). There are now 23 operators and 40 websites.
Ontario is the first Canadian province to launch a legal online betting regime for private operators, an attempt to spur economic development and generate new tax revenue from the previously unregulated gray market, as well as introduce mandatory measures to protect consumers.
Prior to the April 4 market launch, only the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation offered a legal online option, but with little to no enforcement on other websites, many Ontarians have placed bets on sporting events and played online casino games with private gaming sites. .
The Ontario government once estimated that 70% of the money Ontarians spend each year on online gambling went to gray market operators.
OLG reported revenue of $295 million for its digital gaming division for the full fiscal year 2020-21. For the entire previous five-year period, the division’s revenues totaled $406 million.
Since the launch of the legal market, television, radio and online advertising for betting sites has become ubiquitous, especially related to sporting events.
“Part of creating a regulated market is allowing people to advertise,” Burns said when asked about ad volume.
“I think the operators are balanced in their approach, there are advertisements about player tools to manage your game and responsible gambling advertising as part of their advertising mix,” he said.
IGO said in a press release that the revenue and player account numbers “suggest that people in Ontario are interested in the strong anti-money laundering and player protections that are available in the regulated market.”
The agency said no one was available for an interview on Tuesday, but in an email it said it could not speculate on revenue trends or market growth based solely on a quarter. Datas.
“That said, we are encouraged by the results so far and the number of operators who have made Ontario a priority market for their businesses,” iGO said in the email.
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