Similar to the US market, football is the big early draw for Ontario sports betting.
Since its launch Aug. 27, the province’s only sportsbook, ProLine+, has accepted 3.5 million bets, according to data from Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Football drew 45% of those wagers, with NFL betting making up 34% of all the bets.
This summer, the Canadian Parliament changed the Criminal Code to allow provinces to regulate single-event sports betting in Canada. Multiple provincial lotteries launched at the end of August, including ProLine+’s offerings for Ontario sports betting.
What else is popular in Ontario sports betting?
While football controls nearly 50% of the focus, baseball snagged 30% of all wagers since Aug. 27.
Soccer, including the English Premier League and MLS, captured 18% of bets.
With most betting happening on the day of an event, ProLine+ bettors are not into hockey yet. Just 2% of bets so far are on the national sport.
Changes coming to Ontario sports betting?
Since Senate hearings this spring, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario planned to open the iGaming and sports betting market to commercial operators. OLG, an AGCO subsidiary, operates ProLine+.
The AGCO rolled out a registration system for interested iGaming operators and suppliers in September. The AGCO sought feedback on sports betting regulations in August, which were added as highlighted additions to the standards for internet gaming.
An AGCO media email sent to LSR said there are no updates at this time. The department previously put a late 2021 launch date for iGaming.
“Still waiting on some important details, but things are moving,” Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns wrote in an email.
Operators positioning for Ontario
PointsBet appears to be the most active commercial sportsbook in Canada so far, building out an experienced executive team. It also partnered with Dailyfaceoff.com and The Nation Network of sports-focused websites in Canada.
Toronto-based theScore, which Penn National Gaming acquired in August, hopes for a significant share of the Canadian sports betting market. The media and sports betting company partnered with Canlan Sports, which owns arenas across North America, targeting adult rec hockey leagues.
BetMGM looks to secure a hockey following, partnering with The Hockey News and Wayne Gretzky. DraftKings expanded its NFL daily fantasy sports partnership to include Canada.
Why operators want in on Ontario
With a population of nearly 15 million people, Ontario would be the fifth-largest US state. An Eilers & Krejcik report on Canadian sports betting estimates Ontario sportsbooks could generate up to CAD $570 million in sports betting revenue in 2022.
Its largest city, Toronto, is a prime North American sports hub with teams in the MLS, NBA, NHL and MLB, as well as the Canadian Football League. Elsewhere in Ontario, Ottawa has an NHL and CFL team. Hamilton also has a CFL team.
An open market will also likely help with pricing, which proved to be an early issue with Alberta’s lottery offering. More operators with better pricing would also likely draw more bettors to the legal market.