Ontario is on the cusp of a new, competitive, regulated online gambling market that, according to a report released in September by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming and The Parleh Media Group, will be worth $2.2 billion-plus once mature ($904 million in online sports betting gross revenue and $1.3 billion in online casino gross revenue).
That same report also projected that 40+ commercial brands will compete in a regulated Ontario online sports betting and online casino and poker markets by 2026. According to the Canadian Gaming Association, $14.5 billion is bet on sports each year, with just $500 million done legally.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.’s PROLINE+ is the only regulated sportsbook operating in the province now. As Amanda Brewer, senior adviser with the CGA, says, important information like tax rates is still missing from the Ontario license application process. Until we know that, it’s still a guess on how robust competition will be.
Here is a rundown of the major events that got us to this point with Ontario betting:
MP Kevin Waugh of Saskatoon-Grasswood introduces the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act (C-218) to Parliament, which would repeal the single-game wagering ban in Canada’s Criminal Code. The new law would leave it up to each province to decide about sports betting for their respective territories.
The top five professional sports leagues in North America (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS) send a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing their support for regulated, expanded sports betting in Canada. The objective, they say, is to direct Canadians away from illegal offshore betting.
C-218 passes its third reading in the Canadian House of Commons and moves on to the Senate for debate and consideration. This is a major victory for the Waugh bill from over a year previous.
C-218 passes through the Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, then moves on to deliberation and debate in the Senate, which then votes in favour of it later that month, 57-20. Then on June 30, Bill C-218 receives Royal Assent.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti announces that the effective date for Bill C-218 will be Aug. 27. On that day, province lotteries launch sports betting products. Single-game sports betting in Canada officially becomes legal.
Ontario is one of the early adopters and gets aggressive through PROLINE+, and via the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (provincial regulator) and iGaming Ontario (subsidiary of the AGCO, responsible for conducting and managing iGaming through private operators) starts work toward having an open and regulated online sports betting market.
The AGCO opens up registration for Ontario online casino operators and suppliers interested in participating in a regulated market in Ontario.
Launch of Ontario’s competitive iGaming market (projected and tentative start date by iGaming Ontario) for those registered operators that have entered into an agreement with iGaming Ontario.