Most Ontario online gamblers using regulated market sites, study indicates

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Ontario launches new online gambling market
RELATED: The province has officially launched its new online gaming market, iGaming Ontario. Some are placing their bets on this new system, while others say it’s not worth the gamble. Sean O’Shea has more – Apr 4, 2022

Ontario’s regulated internet gaming market has been live now for two years, and it is attracting increasing activity from the province’s online gamblers, a new study suggests, with blackjack and basketball among the favourite wagers.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario commissioned the study to mark the first two years of operation of Ontario’s regulated market, and found that 86.4 per cent of survey respondents in the province who gambled online in the past three months used regulated sites, up slightly from last year.

The Ipsos study, however, also found that in addition to 13.6 per cent of respondents who reported using only unregulated sites, about 20 per cent of gamblers who used regulated sites also wagered through unregulated ones.

“Participants named over 350 unregulated websites they have used, which highlights how many illicit betting options can be accessed by Ontarians and the importance of continued efforts to shift players to Ontario’s safer and legal gaming options,” the AGCO wrote in a press release.

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The province established iGaming Ontario in April 2022 and, according to the agency’s third-quarter report, its most recent fiscal update, it was regulating 49 operators that run 72 gaming websites. People placed $17.2 billion in wagers that quarter, the report said. The average monthly spend per active player account was $186.

Ontario’s recent budget projected that the province will see revenues of $162 million from iGaming Ontario in the fiscal year that just ended, rising to $174 million by the end of this year.

Casino games, including slots and bingo, are the largest segment by far, with about 82 per cent of the wagers among iGaming Ontario operators, the agency said.

Blackjack was the biggest table game this past year, with 27 per cent of the category’s wagers, followed by roulette and baccarat at nine and eight per cent, respectively.

Among sports bets, basketball was the most popular, followed by football, hockey, baseball and soccer. Cricket, table tennis, combat sports, curling and sumo wrestling are among the dozens of other sports and games on which people place bets through regulated sites.

Peer-to-peer poker is the smallest category, iGaming Ontario said, though it still saw more than $1.5 billion in total wagering in this past year.

Ontario is the only province in Canada with an open, regulated iGaming market. Sports betting and online casino gambling elsewhere in the country are operated through provincially run websites.

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The Ipsos study also suggested that about one-third of Ontario residents gambled online in the past year, and that 65 per cent of the people who gambled online in the past three months were men.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Canadian Research Insights Council, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

— with files from Dan Ralph

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