Deloitte: Canadian Sports Bettors Not A One-Size-Fits-All Group

Written By Dave Briggs on February 24, 2022 - Last Updated on February 28, 2022
Woman in a canoe in Canada

A new report appears to confirm what many already suspect — Canadian sports bettors are hard to nail down into one category. Understanding those differences will be vital to success for operators expected to enter the market soon.

“Our research clarifies that there are important differences across the Canadian sports-betting community — which means that a one-size-fits-all approach to promoting wagering is unlikely to deliver optimal results,” said the report Bettor perspectives: How organizations can win in the new world of Canadian sports betting.

Deloitte Canada prepared the report and released it Wednesday.

“Instead, organizations should seek to understand what makes different categories of Canadian sports bettors tick — from the events they follow to the ways they bet — and then deliver experiences tailored to the unique expectations and behaviours of each segment.”

The findings came from an online survey of some 1,000 Canadian consumers aged 18 or older. It was conducted between Sept. 22 and Oct. 1, 2021, about a month after Bill C-218 amended Canada’s criminal code to allow single-event wagering. The survey included “likely bettors and non-bettors, from varying financial situations and geographical regions.”

The report was released less than six weeks from April 4. That’s the date Ontario will open its market to as many as 30 or more outside sportsbook and casino operators. Other provinces are watching Ontario to determine the best path forward for online gaming regulations.

Report’s key takeaways

Some of the report’s key takeaways include:

  • Nearly 38% of respondents either placed sports wagers over the past 12 months or are potentially interested in doing so in the future.
  • Just over 37% of respondents expressed an eagerness in placing legal sports-event wagers.
  • Only 19.2% of Canadians surveyed were aware single-event sports betting is now legal. Though, remember, this survey was done just a month after legalization.
  • Potential bettors comprise the largest group of those surveyed (58.5%). That means they have not placed a bet on sports over the last year.
  • Those who said they were unlikely to bet “cited a lack of information and an uncertainty about how betting would work under the new rules.”
  • Legalizing single-event betting could result in $28 billion in legal wagers in Canada by 2026.

Interesting thoughts on brands, leagues

Questions about how respondents choose betting platforms and services produced some interesting results, including:
  • Half of the respondents (50%) look for a trusted brand.
  • 41.7% seek rapid win payouts.
  • 34.8% search for the best odds.
  • Only 12.9% of respondents indicated prior use of a brand or platform might affect where they place future bets.
  • Just 9.4% of respondents would choose a betting platform or service based on the support of a current or former professional athlete.

The popularity of hockey is another clear sign Canadian bettors will be different than US ones. Those surveyed ranked the NHL as the most popular of the sports leagues. The NFL, MLB, NBA, CFL, and the Olympics followed in popularity.

Ardent, casual and potential bettors

The report split respondents into three key groups:

  • Ardent bettors. This group are bettors that tend to wager often and for higher stakes. They gamble $50 or more on average on a single bet. Or they have bet $1,000 or more in the previous 12 months.
  • Casual bettors. Those that bet less frequently and for lower stakes. They have bet less than $1,000 in the past year or less than $50 on average on a single bet.
  • Potential bettors. People in this group have not bet on sports in the last year. But they are open to doing so now that single-event wagering is legal.

The vast majority of those surveyed (58.5%) fall into the potential bettors’ group. Casual bettors (33%) are next, followed by ardent bettors (8.5%).

The ardent bettors are most likely to be male (56.3%) and 44 or younger (68.9%). They also have the highest incomes of the three groupings.

Casual bettors are also predominantly male (58.2%) and a little older. They are slightly less affluent than ardent bettors.

Females make up a significant percentage of potential bettors (57%). This group was predominantly between the ages of 25 and 64. Potential bettors have slightly lower incomes than ardent or casual bettors.

Winning over each group of bettors

The report recommends winning over ardent bettors by:

“Defining and delivering on omni-channel brand promises that include many betting possibilities, quick payouts, and compelling VIP rewards. Casino owners/operators should consider placing exclusive sports-betting lounges and kiosks near table games — among other options aimed at increasing engagement — to capitalize on this bettor group’s craving for action … Media organizations should aim to integrate betting into the broadcast or direct-to-consumer viewing experience, including through gamification, online- betting shoulder content, and ‘betcasts.'”

Further, operators can best reach casual bettors when:

“Focus on offering quick payouts, competitive odds, and a variety of betting options, and prioritize making betting available via lottery kiosks. Casinos should appeal to casual bettors’ love of their favourite sports by offering cross-promotional prizes and sports-themed casino games — e.g., poker players could win VIP tickets to NBA games or take their lucky shots with basketball-themed slot machines. Media organizations should offer betting content through means that don’t distract from the games themselves (e.g., separate feeds for bettors) and lean into the social experience of wagering, such as providing easily understood and various fun bets (e.g., player prop bets) that connect bettor viewers with other fans.”

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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 North America with emphasis on the casino, sports betting, horse racing and poker sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Canada and Illinois.

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