The regulated market for Ontario online casinos and sports betting continues to see steady growth, according to a 2023-24 (July 1 to Sept. 30) market performance report released by iGaming Ontario. The report covers what is considered the second quarter of the fiscal year though it’s the third quarter of the calendar year.
“It’s especially encouraging to see triple digit growth year-over-year for key metrics like total wagers and total gaming revenues,” BetRegal head of marketing Aly Lalani said.
Ontario saw $14.2 billion in total wagers in Q2 of the 2023-24 FY. That total wager number does not include promotional wagers (bonuses). That’s up 1.4% from $14.0 billion in Q1 (April 1-June 30).
Ontario Betting Revenue Dips Slightly
Total gaming revenue from casino apps Ontario hit $540 million in Q2, down 0.9% from $545 million in Q1. Total gaming revenue is total cash wagers, including rake fees, tournament fees and other fees, minus player winnings derived from cash wagers. That number does not take into account operating costs or other liabilities.
There were 47 operators licensed and operating in Ontario, and 71 gaming websites, from July to September. In Q1 (April to June) that number was 46 and 71, respectively.
According to iGaming Ontario, there are 943,000 active player accounts (up from 920,000 in Q1), with an average monthly spend of $191 (per active player account) on iGaming options such as Ontario online blackjack, slots, other table games, sports and more. In Q1, the average monthly spend was $174.
More specifically, in Q2, casino games (slots, live and computer-based tables games and peer-to-peer bingo) accounted for almost $11.9 billion (84%) of total wagers and 75% ($407 million) of gaming revenue.
Ontario Sports Betting Falls in Q2
Betting on sports and esports as well as proposition and novelty bets accounted for $1.9 billion in handle, or amount wagered, in Q2. That was about 13% of the total spend for all online gambling in Ontario and it represented a 5.0% decline from $2.0 billion spent on online Ontario sports betting in Q1. Those Q1 and Q2 reports were the first ones to separate wagers placed on sporting events from the ones at online casino apps at the iGaming Ontario website.
That fall in handle at Ontario sportsbooks is no surprise. According to the report covering the first 12 months of wagering in the province (April 4, 2022 to March 31, 2023), basketball was the most popular sport to bet on in Canada’s most populous province with 29% of wagers, followed by soccer (15%), football (13%), hockey (9%) then baseball (8%). In the summer, of course, there is no NFL or NBA for folks to bet on at Ontario betting apps, and popular soccer leagues such as the English Premier League are on break as well.
Revenue for sports wagering fell too, from $138 million in Q1 to $118 million in Q2, a 15% decline. But that revenue still represented a 22% share of the total Ontario online gaming revenue, a much higher portion than the handle, according to the iGaming Ontario report. That was a point Lalani touched on.
“I’m continued to be surprised at how small a percentage of total of those same KPI’s are represented by sports betting,” Lalani says. “Only 13% of total wagers and 22% of total gaming revenue (in Q2). It will be interesting to see how much those numbers shift in Q3 with the onset of major sports like NBA and NHL.”
Another intriguing factor is the overall value of the sports wagers the market is seeing.
“Sports gaming revenue accounting for almost twice the percentage of total as sports wagers shows that the brands that are able to acquire the sports market share are achieving a very healthy hold percentage,” Lalani says. “I wonder how that player value looks when marketing costs to acquire that sports market share are factored in.”
Peer to peer (P2P) poker at Ontario online poker sites accounted for $397M (3%) of total wagers and $16M (3%) of gaming revenue and increase from $350 million of total wagers and $15 million of gaming revenue in Q1.