There were many stories from companies in Europe and the US about the preparations for the launch of online gaming regulation in Ontario. SBC even participated in the fray, purchasing both the Canadian Gaming Summit and our latest publication, Canadian Gaming Business.
On April 4, Ontario opened a regulated market
The April launch was a busy month for US businesses, with new partnerships and signings. BetMGM appointed Connor McDavid to be an ambassador, while FanDuel partnered with Canadian sports channel TSN. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced their first partnership agreement with the NHL.
Numerous stakholders speculated about the size of the market in the weeks before launch. Interview with SBC Americas. Benjie from TheScore stated that Ontario was “one of most lucrative, if certainly the most profitable, igaming jurisdictions” in North America.
Kindred Group’s Canadian Manager Amanda Brewer was open to the idea that would predict that it will be a multibillion-dollar market within five years.
People were excited about the possibility of revenue, but it was more than that. PlayCanada stated the market has created more than 2,500 jobs, which were not there before regulation.
Expectations were high for NY’s strong sportsbook performance
The potential of Ontario was a great market. There are many reasons to celebrate it. There were obvious comparisons between Ontario and Pennsylvania, which offers both online gambling and sports betting. Just a few weeks after Ontario was launched, Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks exceeded the $1 billion threshold in revenue less than four years. Poker fans were delighted to hear that Michigan was joining Multi-State Internet Gaming Association .
However, the timing of the launch of sports betting in Ontario was not ideal. After the Super Bowl was over and March Madness finished, revenue at US sportsbooks fell into the seasonal slump which continues throughout the summer. New York launched in the NFL playoffs. It immediately posted record-setting, massive numbers.
NY Sportsbooks had $1.5 Billion in handle during February. With $1.64 trillion in bets, the March numbers were better. This massive number attracted attention, and made expectations even higher for Ontario.
Pros and cons of sports betting: NCAA and NFL
The season was all about growth, but there were growing concerns over regulation and oversight. With new rules, the NCAA made a move to embrace sports betting. This allowed schools and leagues to make deals based on official data.
The NFL was also concerned about impropriety. The NFL made headlines in the offseason by suspending Atlanta Falconsplayer Calvin Ridley from the 2022-23 football season for having gambled. When he gambled on Falcons games at a Florida betting site, he was not present with the team. This announcement was made by the league to remind players and staff that they cannot bet on NFL games.
The American Gaming Association finally raised a concern about an issue that could continue into the year of illegal offshore operators. AGA President Bill Miller wrote an open letter to Merrick Garland requesting him to bring charges against operators such as Bovada or MyBookie. Garland did not respond, however the complaints from lobbyists have grown louder over the months.