Ontario Online Gambling Numbers Underwhelming, So Far

Written By Dave Briggs on August 30, 2022
Ontario online gaming revenue is a distant fourth when compared to comparable US jurisdictions that also offer both online casinos and sportsbooks.

How do the Ontario online casino and sportsbook revenue numbers compare to similar US gaming jurisdictions? So far, Ontario’s figures are about as underwhelming as the scant report iGaming Ontario released on Tuesday morning.

iGO reported that in the first three months of operation Ontario online gambling platforms took in $4.076 billion in total wagers and produced revenue of $162 million from 492,000 active player accounts. That’s lower than comparable US gaming jurisdictions.

But there are some important caveats about Ontario’s numbers:

  1. The report only covers the first three months of an open online gaming market (from April 4 through June 30).
  2. The numbers do not include figures from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp’s online operations which has said it is seeing record numbers.
  3. And this is a big one: Many well-established grey-market operators were still doing business in the non-legal market in Ontario during the first quarter as they made the transition to the white market.

That means future revenue numbers from Ontario will likely be much higher. There were 18 live operators in the first quarter. Now there are 26 (25 if we take out the OLG). Plus, many of the grey-market operators have legalized.

How Ontario compares to US jurisdictions

Comparing Ontario’s revenue of $162 million (Cdn) to the six US jurisdictions that have both online casino and sportsbooks, Ontario ranks a so-so fourth. When you convert that $162 million to US dollars (at today’s Bank of Canada of rate) it’s even worse. Ontario’s revenue comes in at around $125 million US.

Here’s how Ontario’s first quarter revenue compares with the comparable months in the second quarter reports of more established gaming jurisdictions in 2022:

  1. New Jersey: $557 million
  2. Pennsylvania: $521 million
  3. Michigan: $466 million
  4. Ontario: $125 million (USD)
  5. Connecticut: $93 million
  6. West Virginia: $33 million
  7. Delaware: $5 million

That means Ontario’s revenue is about a quarter the size of the most comparable gaming regions. Ontario figures are a meagre 22% of what New Jersey brought in, 24% what Pennsylvania took it and 27% of the revenue in Michigan.

Yet, Ontario leads them all in population:

  1. Ontario: 15 million
  2. Pennsylvania: 13 million
  3. Michigan: 10 million
  4. New Jersey: 9 million
  5. Connecticut: 3.6 million
  6. West Virginia: 1.8 million
  7. Delaware: 1 million

iGO numbers are equally underwhelming

We waited five months after Ontario’s market opened and two months after the first quarter ended on June 30 to finally see some numbers. What iGO released contained barely any useful data. More importantly, it continues to leave Ontario taxpayers with very little information.

Here’s all we know about how Ontario did in the first three months:

  • Total wagers: $4.076 billion (does not include promotional wagers (bonuses)).
  • Total gaming revenue: $162 million.
  • Active player accounts: 492,000 (accounts with cash and/or promotional wagering activity and do not represent unique players as individuals may have accounts with multiple operators).
  • Average monthly spend per active player account: $113

Compare that to how Pennsylvania reports gaming revenue. Now that’s how you report revenue.

We don’t know how much Ontario revenue came from online casinos and how much from sports betting. In the six jurisdictions mentioned above, the split is, on average 70/30 or 75/25 in favour of casinos.

We also don’t know how much money the Ontario government made in tax revenue from the sector. The tax rate is rumoured to be 20%. So, if true, that means tax revenue for the first quarter was $32.4 million. But that’s just an educated guess. And we don’t know what the government plans to do with that money, which is critical for taxpayers to hold elected officials to account.

Also, there are no details about how particular operators are doing. That information is commonly released in the US.

And that’s just the beginning of what’s missing from Tuesday’s report.

So far, it all adds to a wet bag of potatoes.

It’s better than nothing, I guess, but in a sector this large, in a province this big, it won’t sustain most for long.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in Canada with emphasis on the casino, sports betting and horse racing sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Canada and Michigan.

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