Will the Province Release Ontario Sports Betting Figures Before Election Day?

Will the Province Release Ontario Sports Betting Figures Before Election Day?
By Mark Keast

There was speculation on social media this week about the possibility the Ford government might release revenue figures for Ontario sports betting and iGaming before the June 2 provincial election.

That makes some sense at first glance. There aren’t many people who can complain about the rollout of the regulated Ontario online casino and sports betting markets since the April 4 launch day. That’s a tip of the hat to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario.

This from Aly Lalani, head of marketing for soon-to-be-launching BetRegal: “While there have undoubtedly been issues during the industry’s rollout (and still continue to be), I think we have to give credit where credit is due. The fact that we are living and working in a gambling regulated province at home here in Canada, is an amazing accomplishment, considering where we were just five or six short years ago. 

“I think there are lots of organizations/people who deserve more praise than the government for getting this over the finish line. I don’t think it’s completely ridiculous that the Ford government wants to tout this as a huge win, because quite frankly it is. I’m really intrigued to see what those revenue numbers look like. If nothing else, it serves as a tangible indication to other provinces as to what the potential could be.”

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A Lot of Interested Parties in Ontario Sports Betting

Indeed, there are eyes on Ontario not just from across the rest of Canada, as other provinces figure out what they’re going to do, but from the rest of the world as well. Ontario is projected by some to become one of the biggest markets in North America when it really hits its speed, potentially second to New York in terms of sports betting revenue, according to some.

However, Canadian Gaming Association president and CEO Paul Burns says he doubts we will see those figures in the next few weeks, prior to the election.

“My understanding is they are looking at quarterly release of information,” he told OntarioBets.com “I highly doubt they will be in position to release data in the next few weeks. I would suspect it will after the end of the quarter, so July.

“It has nothing to do with how the market has performed. IGO is a new agency and have just started collecting market data, so they just need some time to evaluate what information to release.”

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More on the Start of Ontario Sports Betting

Last week, PointsBet Canada chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky said in an interview about Ontario’s launch: “It’s too soon to tell, we’re a month in, but I am really bullish on what we’re seeing from the market in the early days. Obviously the only data I am seeing is PointsBet data but we’re seeing users betting frequently on multiple sports, on multiple days every week.

“So what that tells me about the Ontario market is that the projections may very well be light. We might be one of the biggest markets in North America, because of the mature reality of this market on launch,” Sulsky said.

And this from Amanda Brewer, country manager of Canada for Kindred Group (Unibet): “I suspect this first month has been a great learning experience for all the licensed operators. There’s been some confusion over what an “inducement” is, and there was also a flurry of activity around unlicensed operators using affiliates. 

“This is all an expected part of the first few weeks of a new market launching. Kindred is slowly easing its Unibet brand in and our advertising has just started to go live. We are still in the early days, and we look forward to growing in the Ontario market over the weeks and months to come.”

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Give Credit Where Credit is Due

The Ford government needs to take a bow for this. And why not load up with as much ammo as you can score before Ontarians head to the polls?

Current polls have the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals and that lead has grown. 

But as the late Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker once said: “Polls are only good for dogs.”



Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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