Ontario Gambling Wagers Soar to $63 Billion

Article by Simon Young
Spotsbook on the online Casinos of Ontario CA
Last Updated: May 6th, 2024 Share On Your Network:

In Ontario’s second year of regulated online gambling, more than CA$63 billion in wagers were placed. 

The statistics come from iGaming Ontario, the regulator of the market, and are for the period between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024. 

This is only the second year that Ontario has regulated online casinos, following the passing of state regulatory guidelines that formally legalized online casino gameplay in the province. 

At the time of writing in April 2024, 47 licensed operators in Ontario held 77 iGaming licenses. They offer a suite of popular casino games, including slots, table games, and live dealer titles. 

Staggering numbers posted in Ontario

The growth and popularity of iGaming in Ontario are evidenced by the collective value of the wagers placed in the province’s second year of regulated online gambling. 

In Q4 alone, wagers totalled more than CA$17.8 billion, up from just over $14 billion in the first quarter. 

Casino games accounted for the vast majority of wagers placed, seeing just under CA$52 billion in casino bets. Around CA$9.7 billion was placed in other online bet types, while about CA$1.6 billion was wagered on peer-to-peer poker. 

Around 1.3 million player accounts were active during Q4, defined as accounts with wagering activity. It does not account for individual unique players, as many online bettors will likely hold numerous accounts at different operators.

The legal iGaming landscape in Ontario

On April 4, 2022, Ontario became the first Canadian province to legalize and regulate online casino gambling. Before the regulation, online betting in the province operated in a grey area, much like in the rest of Canada. 

Canadians can technically play outside of Ontario at offshore online casinos regulated in other jurisdictions, including those with licenses from bodies like the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission. 

However, the lack of a centralized Canadian regulatory body muddies the waters and makes it unclear to Canadian players what they can expect when playing online casino games. 

In the state of Ontario, the establishment of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), alongside iGaming Ontario (IGO), sought to change this. 

Today, any casino operator in the province must operate under a license issued by IGO and is subject to strict regulation each year to keep its license. 

As a result, Ontario-licensed casinos must meet strict standards for fair and responsible gaming while taking steps to prevent problem gambling. 

In the first year of regulated online gambling in Ontario, active players spent $70 per month on regulated sites, earning Ontario more than $1.4 billion in gaming revenue across the first 12 months. 

Is regulation the way forward for other Canadian provinces?

Given the vast numbers posted in Ontario after the first couple of years of regulated iGaming in Ontario, it bodes the question of whether other provinces will follow suit. 

The main benefit of regulation is the opportunity to generate revenue. Right now, in other parts of Canada, online gamblers are channelling funds to offshore betting sites, which doesn’t benefit the province in any way. 

Also, when playing at offshore iGaming sites, there are issues around trust and accountability. If a casino isn’t licensed in Canada, how can a bettor attain accountability if something goes wrong? 

From this perspective, the presence of a regulatory body within each province makes sense. It means that players have a way of reporting misconduct and malpractice, making iGaming safer for all. 

On the other hand, some people feel that regulation, or overregulation, is prohibitive for the iGaming space. 

For instance, some punters complain about some of the regulatory processes laid out by the UK Gambling Commission, noting that they discourage players from placing bets. This is particularly true of Know Your Customer (KYC) regulatory processes, which are often overly burdensome for online bettors.  

The key is to strive for balance, as is the case in Ontario. The creation of the ACGO and IGO means Canadian operators can legally offer iGaming in the state, enabling the province to collect revenue from gambling. It also means that players have a source of accountability if something goes wrong. 

What can we expect from Ontario going forward?

In just two years, Ontario has posted just short of CA$100 billion in wagers at regulated betting sites ($35.6 billion in Y1 and $63 billion in Y2). 

Given the growth of regulated iGaming in the state and the increasing number of regulators operating in Ontario (40 operators in Y1 and 47 in Y2), we will likely see more iGaming options for Ontarians shortly. 

In iGaming, there’s a growing trend towards live casinos offering immersive, engaging games, which are extremely popular in Ontario. 

Equally, we’re likely to see more growth in cryptocurrency casinos that accept bets in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and other coins in the coming years. 

If you’re based in Ontario and want to create an account at a safe and regulated online casino, check out our recommendations of the best online casinos in Ontario in 2024 and create an account today.

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