Province by province: The exponential rise in Ontario’s iGaming


At the end of the first official year with Ontario’s newly christened online gambling scene, many are starting to feel hopeful about their efforts. Maybe, just maybe, some other provinces are even going to follow suit as a result. Although no one has booked any celebratory parades just yet, there is only optimism about the future of Canadian Gambling.

Ontario: A Pioneer in the Industry

The history of gambling is long and storied, especially so on Canadian grounds. Although casinos have had the right to practice their act in Canada for some time now, it is only more recent regulation in Ontario that really allowed the rapid, digital expansion that we see today.

Sports betting on parlay terms has been allowed since 1985, with many a Canadian hauling off to bet on Wayne Gretzky’s next superstar move. Online sports betting, on the other hand, has origins in an August 2021 regulation change which allowed the practice. This step acted as a metaphorical green light for the sports betting world to dip into Canadian soil. 

The day on everyone’s calendar: 4th April 2022

Since April 4th, the floodgates of Canadian betting have been thrown wide open. Whether preferring to hit the staple card games of blackjack and poker or exhilarating slot machines and wheels, there are finally a good number of online casinos in Ontario for the Canadian enthusiast to indulge in.

Significant growth and statistics.

iGaming Ontario (iGO) provides much of the legal administration and regulation in the province alongside  the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Acting as a paternal figure for much of the Ontario online gambling scene, the two act in tandem on a number of local issues, ultimately being the authorities most closely linked to the ultimate government. 

The data confirms our suspicions: Ontario is becoming a leader in the realm of digital wgaering. After an april market opener, over CA$162M total has been reported as revenue for the first quarter ending 30 June, with total stakes for the quarter coming down to $4.07B. These results are staggering when compared against to other launches and are showing of a growth not likely to slow down.

Other likely proponents of the industry:

These figures do not yet include the research outcomes of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, a government agency that manages traditional gaming facilities. Awaiting this information with bated breath, an official stated that they are bringing the annual report to be first toQueen’s Park, the site of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, before publicly publishing their findings in a report. If all goes well, this may be another win for the industry.

The Canadian Gaming Association has similarly provided some good news about the industry’s opportunity for outreach. Paul Burns, president and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, has stated regarding the above awaited report that “(OLG) have been doing well, and they’ve seen an upsurge, particularly in their casino sector. »

Sports betting and sports providers

On the sporting front, they have been involved in a number of notable agreements. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has stated that it will be forming sports betting relationships with global leaders in sport, including the National Hockey League (NHL)  and the National Football League (NFL), a move which further officializes the industry.

Gray Markets: Offshore turned onshore.

Those who are monitoring the situation in Ontario may expect things to become far more thrilling. When the industry went live on April 4, several of the gray market players that have been running offshore businesses for years were the incentive to finally partner up officially with iGaming Ontario and get their licenses. Many of their applications went through even before the planned launch of the industry, getting ahead before the curve.

The waiting game

Many are still negotiating with the regulators and iGO while waiting their turn in the queue. Gray market operators have until October 31 to bring themselves into compliance or they run the danger of having their registration denied. The AGCO will take « necessary regulatory action » against any operator which does not satisfy the new criteria by the end of the month.

iGaming Ontario Director Martha Otton spoke on the « tremendous level of interest » in the Ontario sector, which includes sports betting, casino games, and eSports, during the most recent G2E event, which took place in Las Vegas.

A bright future

Regardless of your stance on the industry, it is truly fascinating to take a look at a fledgling industry take some of its first steps in unfamiliar land. Online gambling, after all, provides some interesting mental stimulation away from simple brain games. Hopefully these developments continue on the positive scale and bring forth a new golden era for Canadian gambling.