Ontario Celebrates First Anniversary of Legalized Commercial iGaming

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A scenic view of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP.

Not only sports betting in the United States along with other gambling games have shown great economic benefits, but neighboring countries like Canada have also taken advantage of this. The previous year was unlike any other for Ontario sports bettors. Years of frustration for sports wagerers in the province ended in April 2022, when Ontario legalized commercial iGaming. So far, the results have been astounding.

iGaming Figures

According to numbers released by iGaming Ontario, Ontarians wagered around $35.6 billion (CAD) ($26.4 billion) in the first year, resulting in approximately $1.4 billion in total gaming income. Canada’s most populated province is among the top five jurisdictions for online gambling in North America. Instead of offering specific breakdowns, iGaming Ontario aggregates iCasino, mobile sports betting, and online poker wagers.

“Ontario’s iGaming market has displaced the pre-existing unregulated market and made Ontario a recognized leader internationally in this industry since its launch in April 2022,” Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said in a published statement. “We are truly proud of this strong, responsible, competitive online gaming model.”

Ontario became the first Canadian jurisdiction to develop an open, regulated iGaming market when the regulated market opened on April 4, 2022. More than 1.6 million active player accounts have been created since then. The average monthly spend per player was roughly CAD 70 ($52).

Total wagering in Ontario’s regulated market for private operators reached $11.5 billion for the three months ending December 31, 2022 – a 90.9% increase compared to the previous quarter. The wagering did not include promotions.

Sports Betting Landscaped Changed Quickly in Ontario

In recent years, the sports betting landscape in Ontario has been changing rapidly. In 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a law prohibiting single-event sports betting, opening the door for provinces to legalize and regulate the activity. 

In August 2021, the Ontario government announced plans to launch a regulated online sports betting market, which happened last April. It allows Ontarians to bet on sports events from the comfort of their own homes using their computers or mobile devices.

According to an Ipsos survey done in March 2023, approximately 85% of those who gambled online in Ontario in the previous three months did so on regulated sites. This demonstrates that players are putting their trust in the regulated market, which provides a safer, more secure environment for players to place bets.

“Spoofing” Attempts Persist in Ontario

If there is one drawback to the launch of sports betting in Ontario is the number of “spoofing” attempts that continue to take place. 

Over the last year, Ontario has experienced over 3.3 million location spoofing attempts (a person or software identifying as someone else) worldwide. In addition, the province has generated over 219,000 login attempts from devices related to fraud. GeoComply has also identified over 1,045 fraud rings that have damaged multiple market operators.

Despite the drawback, the popularity of sports betting can’t be denied. Some operators say bettors can expect the apps to evolve over the next year and offer even more ways to wager on their favorite sports and stay engaged.