Ontario Online Sportsbooks Rank 5th In North America In Bets

Written By Dave Briggs on February 7, 2024
Five large foam fingers ranking the top North American states and provinces by online sports betting handle. From left to right, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ontario

Ontario still lags behind the biggest online casino states in terms of revenue. But, when it comes to online sports bets, the province is one of the top jurisdictions in North America.

That’s the finding of a PlayCanada analysis comparing Ontario’s online gambling sector to comparable US states.

That Ontario is a huge sports betting jurisdiction is important to note just days away from Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest single-game sports betting event of the year in North America.

The American Gaming Association estimates 68 million Americans (26% of the total population) will bet on this year’s Super Bowl, up 35% from the 2023 game. PlayCanada sister site Legal Sports Report is predicting bettors in 39 regulated US markets will legally wager just under $1.3 billion on the Super Bowl, up nearly 20% from last year.

We don’t have estimates for Canada, but PlayCanada believes there is every reason to expect record Super Bowl betting in Ontario’s legal market, as well.

Ontario is home to one of the most vibrant online gambling industries in the world. Currently, more than 50 legal operators offer more than 70 separate, regulated gambling sites in the province. That’s the most consumer choice of any jurisdiction in North America. Fewer than two years after the market opened in April of 2022, the sector is putting up big numbers.

In fact, over the last eight months of 2023, Ontario sportsbooks took in $7 billion worth of bets. Using the average Bank of Canada exchange rate for that eight-month period (.742), that works out to betting handle of $5.19 billion in US dollars.

That means Ontario ranks fifth when compared to all 27 US states that offer legal online sports betting. Only New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania rank higher than Ontario in terms of total bets.

Breaking down how Ontario became the fifth biggest sports betting region

iGaming Ontario, the provincial agency responsible for collecting data on the industry, releases figures quarterly.

In the first fiscal year that ran from April 1 2022 to March 31, 2023, iGO did not provide a quarterly breakdown of the handle and revenue as to whether the money came from online casinos, sports betting or poker.

However, iGO did provide a quarterly breakdown at the start of the second fiscal year. So, we’ll use the combined totals for the first three quarters of FY 2023-24 that ran from April 1 to Dec. 31, 2023.

For comparison purposes, sports betting is best measured by handle (total bets). In Canadian dollars, $7 billion, combined, was bet during that time period through legal Ontario sportsbooks.

For the last eight months of 2023, the top 10 North American states or provinces by online sports betting handle ranked as follows:

  1. New York — $14.06 billion
  2. New Jersey — $8.65 billion
  3. Illinois — $7.07 billion
  4. Pennsylvania — $5.22 billion
  5. Ontario — $5.19 billion (in US dollars)
  6. Ohio — $4.97 billion
  7. Massachusetts — $4.27 billion
  8. Virginia — $4.13 billion
  9. Colorado — $4.06 billion
  10. Arizona — $4 billion

Bar chart showing the 10 largest regions in North America ranked by online sports betting handle for the last eight months of 2023.

The picture is less rosy when it comes to online casinos

How Ontario is faring against its US counterparts in terms of online casino business is less rosy.

There are six US states that allow online casinos and the three most comparable ones to Ontario — Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan — all are significantly ahead of Ontario in business numbers.

For online casinos, revenue, not handle, is a better way to compare regions since states tend to track online casino handle differently. So, we’ll use revenue for our comparison.

For the last eight months of 2023, Ontario online casino revenue was $12.7 billion in Canadian dollars. Using the same conversion rate as above (.742), online casinos revenue in Ontario was $942 million in US dollars from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2023.

By online casino revenue, the ranking is as follows:

  1. Pennsylvania — $1.6 billion
  2. New Jersey — $1.46 billion
  3. Michigan — $1.45 billion
  4. Ontario — $942 million (in US dollars)
  5. Connecticut — $317 million
  6. West Virginia — $118 million
  7. Delaware — $10.3 million

Bar chart showing online casino revenue for the last eight months of 2023 in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, Ontario, Connecticut, West Virginia and Delaware

That means Ontario, despite improving its online casino revenue since the sector launched, has a long way still to go to match the business numbers in comparable US states.

That’s troubling because online casinos drive the vast majority of the business in Ontario. In the last eight months of 2023, 75% of the combined online gambling revenue from sportsbooks and online casinos in Ontario came from online casinos.

Photo by PlayCanada
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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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