Ontario has marked December as the projected launch-date for legal single-sports betting in the province. This last August, Ontario greenlighted the provision of single-sports betting on the PROLINE+ government-run betting website.
Within a week, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation recorded a betting handle worth C$1M. Although Canadians have always had the opportunity to bet on parlays, more than 80% of bets made between Aug. 27, and Sept. 5, all targeted single matches.
Setting the Stage for Legal Betting
Ontario might have already authorized the official government betting website—PROLINE+–to provide single-sports betting. But it’s yet to provide a framework to help leading online bookmakers, say William Hill and 888Sport, a smooth transition to the Canadian market.
For example, Ontario needs to provide a framework for the taxation, license application procedure, fees, data protection and KYC verification. License applicants need a clear guideline on how to provide sports betting services legally in the province.
Ontario intends to finalize the legalization procedure by December so that it can profit from the revenues of the current sports season. But this process could be derailed by legislators now that they’re yet to agree on different parts of the bill.
The Biggest Betting Market in Canada Potentially
With a population of 14.6M, there’s no doubt Ontario has a bigger income potential than many states in the US. The largest online betting state—New Jersey—has a population of 8.8M.
Nevada, the long-time home of gambling, has a population of 3.08M. In all fairness, about 40M people tour Las Vegas every year for gambling reasons. That said, the point stands—Ontario will become the largest sports betting market in the country.
How much income can sports betting generate for Ontario in a year? New Jersey generates $5B and earns the Garden State over $400M in tax income. Nevada, which relies heavily on land-based casinos, generate $4B while Pennsylvania ranks third at $3B.
Many American states with legal sports betting also benefit from out of state tourists who visit for mobile betting. In NJ, for example, 20% of sports bettors are tourists from New York. In other words, Ontario can hit C$1B in revenues, but mainly with the help of neighbouring states.
All Provinces Can Legalize Sports Betting
Ontario isn’t alone in fighting to legalize single-sports betting. After the government permitted single-sports gambling at a federal level, it’s up to provinces to make the necessary changes. So, far, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec and BC have already brought betting to their official government sportsbook.
Additionally, they’re completing the legal framework required to launch sports betting on large scale. The remaining provinces seem not to be in a hurry to profit off single-sports betting.
This could be good news for Ontario and British Columbia. As we mentioned, the biggest sports betting markets in the US generate significant chunks of their income from neighboring states not yet to legalize the industry.
In Ontario’s case, licensed sportsbooks in the province could welcome bets from tourists visiting from James Bay or Hudson Bay. It wouldn’t be unusual for New Yorkers to drive up north for some gambling fan: NY shares a border with Ontario.
Ontario Faces Competition from Overseas Sportsbooks
Last July, Ontario claimed its biggest threat in legalizing sports betting were foreign betting companies. Precisely, the Alcohol Gaming and Commission of Ontario, stated people in the province spend over $1B betting through grey market websites.
For the uninitiated, grey market websites are foreign bookmakers that take bets from Canadians. The companies have no licenses to operate in the Great White North. However, it welcomes Canadians because no law prohibits them from gambling online.
Owing to that backdrop, Ontario’s biggest threat to its sports betting industry will be these foreign companies. The province has no authority to ban or regulate overseas companies. Instead, all it can do is to provide better alternatives for its populace.
Betting on Major Sports will be Legal
When the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced it would accept single-sports bets last month, it was referring to bets on American football. However, all the major sports, hockey, baseball, soccer and basketball will also be available for betting in the province.
Vitally, you can bet on games before they start or while in action. PROLINE+ is providing odds using the American format. But more options, fractions and odds, will become available with the entrance of new companies.
It’s unclear whether Ontario plans to prohibit the betting of any sport. But this is unlikely. The only ban could be wagering on local college games—this is already illegal in many states. The province could also illegalize betting on events whose outcomes are known, say celebrity shows, WWE events and movie endings.
Ontario Expects Quick Adoption
Considering there’s a huge population of online gamblers in Canada, Ontario is hopeful its sports betting industry will pick up quickly. Indeed, Canadians have been quick to place single-sports betting on government websites since they launched.
In BC, for example, the official government betting site—PlayNow—recorded a 72% surge in its betting handle since single-sports betting became legal last month. This growth was fueled by an increase in the number of first-time gambler son its website.
Interestingly, 41% of all gamblers on PlayNow in the last week of August placed single-sport bets. On the other hand, 53.5% of bettors wagered on parlays.
In one particular event—the Tyron Woodley versus Jake Paul boxing match—92.6% of all bets were single-sport wagers. To be clear, punters had the opportunity to combine the main event with undercard bouts. But they opted to focus on the main card alone.
Ontario is in a race to fully legalize single-sports betting by December. In the meantime, it has joined the likes of Alberta, Manitoba and BC in providing single-sport wagering on its official gambling website.
Sports betting lovers in Ontario are fast-embracing single-sports betting. The province is already recording C$1M per week in betting handle. This amount will most likely skyrocket once it licenses commercial betting companies.