BetMGM CEO Offers Rare Ontario Sports Betting Glimpse

Written By Pat Evans on June 9, 2022
Ontario sports betting

Ontario regulators have yet to release sports betting data, but at least one operator reports enjoying the province. 

BetMGM Sportsbook recorded 70 million transactions during May in Ontario, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said during a fireside chat Wednesday at the Canadian Gaming Summit. Commercial online ON sports betting launched April 4. 

“It tells us that there is a receptive audience,” Greenblatt said. “It is a high conversion rate, higher than many US states … relatively higher average bet size on sports betting. Between conversion and bet size, the early performance has been a surprise on the upside.” 

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Official Ontario sports betting report coming

Greenblatt’s comments about Ontario were welcome because the province has remained quiet about overall market performance since launch. Prior to the June 2 provincial election, a representative from iGaming Ontario told LSR an initial revenue report would not be released until after the election.

During the Canadian Gaming Summit, representatives from iGaming Ontario and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario said repeatedly a report is coming soon.

Ontario sports betting lacks ‘initial pump’ 

Greenblatt said most US markets have started with an early rush from bettors. The rush did not come in Ontario.

“In the US, you see an initial pump, a latent demand looking for somewhere to go,” Greenblatt said. “[In Ontario] there was a much more progressive build, because most players were previously served, which has been a specific challenge to entice players from pre-existing options.” 

BetMGM on Ontario advertising

Because of existing gray-market competition, Greenblatt said a heavy investment in advertising was necessary. The massive amount of advertising many Ontario residents have seen likely will not continue in perpetuity, he said.

“Our future depends on getting this right,” Greenblatt said. “We didn’t have a choice. We needed to step forward in a vocal way and I hope we have done that.

“Whether [the advertising] volume sustains over time – we know the numbers, there will be 73 operators in the process. If everyone steps forward in that way, there isn’t capacity for it all.”

Whether it is Canada sports betting or US jurisdictions, Greenblatt said mature markets will see a consolidation to operators with a “bigger pipeline of revenue at the top” who can reinvest in product, advertising and omni-channel experiences.

BetMGM doubles down on Ontario hockey play

Prior to the Ontario launch, BetMGM rolled out partnerships with NHL great Wayne Gretzky and current star Connor McDavid. 

Greenblatt brought up the importance of the hockey partnerships when asked about the potential for NFL betting in Ontario.

“One of the challenges for us, if you don’t know the scale of it, how much can you invest in it,” he said. “We think that [the NFL] will probably be the biggest betting sport, but not by the margin that exists in the US.”

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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