Ontario is home to 47 online gambling operators from 14 different countries. The province has cemented itself as one of, if not the most diverse gambling markets in North America when you look at the origin of the online operators
That’s a remarkable feat considering the relative youth of the Ontario online casino industry. So, how did that come to be in just over 18 months?
Well, the truth is, Ontario got a head start on the online gambling boom and used it to their unique advantage once the market opened in a legal setting.
Grey-market paved way for early flood of Ontario operators
Because of a thriving grey-market that long preceded regulation, operators joining Ontario’s regulated wagering ecosystem were more so returning customers than new ones.
For context, there were at least 46 grey-market operators taking bets from Ontarians prior to the online market opening on April 4, 2022.
Since then, some of these operators have left the province in pursuit of other non-legal grey trade opportunities. However, some stuck around to do business in the regulated market and allow Ontario residents to continue betting with a familiar brand in a safer environment.
What’s more, all of the once illegal grey-market operators were welcomed back into the reimagined Ontario sports betting and online casino space at the time of regulation.
But, that’s not all that makes Ontario an international playground for gambling operators to converge upon.
Low cost to entry encourages new operators to pursue Ontario
The registration criteria set in place by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and its subsidiary branch, iGaming Ontario, is basically a green light for prospective operators to pursue opportunities in the province. And, there is currently no cap on how many operators can do business in Ontario.
That said, operators must adhere to stringent responsible gambling policies to both obtain and keep their licenses after gaining approval.
From there, once all the criteria are met and the $100,000 registration fee per site is paid, operators are free to conduct business in Ontario.
And, the tax rate of 20% is not particularly onerous compared to other jurisdictions. Plus, the fact that Ontario has legalized online casinos means operators have a greater change of profitability compared to sports betting alone, which has thin margins.
Better yet, operators don’t have to physically base their operations in Ontario to gain entry to the market, which is something iGO Executive Director Martha Otton pointed out earlier this month.
This operator-friendly approach, specifically, has helped separate Ontario from its North American counterparts by creating an appealing environment for major international players.
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Huge European origin influence in Ontario
Operators with an origin in Europe are particularly prevalent in Ontario, unlike other North American gambling jurisdictions.
This owes slightly to Ontario’s strong colonial ties, but it is influenced even more by:
- The high number of European operators that were already doing business in Ontario via the grey market prior to legalization.
- The low cost of entry to Ontario’s market.
- The fact that Europe is a more mature online casino market.
Of the 67 Ontario sites — some operators control more than one site — 45 of them have an origin in Europe.
Ontario gaming sites sorted by country of origin
PlayCanada broke down all 67 online gambling sites currently active in Ontario. The breakdown by country of origin is as follows:
- Amazon Slots
- High Flyer Casino
- NorthStar Bets
- Sports Interaction
- theScore Bet
- Spin Away
- 888 Casino/Poker/Sport
- Jackpot City
- Royal Vegas
- Ruby Fortune
- Spin Casino
Isle of Man (UK)
- Captain Cooks Casino
- Casino Classic
- Casino Days
- Golden Tiger
- Grand Mondial
- Lucky Days
- Luxury Casino
- Mr Vegas
- Power Play
- Unibet (Founded in UK, HQ in Malta)
- Yukon Gold Casino
- Zodiac Casino
- Royal Panda
- PokerStars Casino/Sports/Poker (Founded in Costa Rica, HQ in UK)
- Bally Bet
- Bet MGM
- Deal or No Deal Casino
- Delta Bingo
- FanDuel (Founded in UK, HQ in US)
- Stardust Online Casino
- STX (exchange)