Ontario’s new legal online betting market grew in its second quarter, raking in $267 million in total gaming revenue as more players and websites participated in sports, casino, and Esports wagering.
The second official release of financial figures from iGaming Ontario (iGO), a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), shows a nearly 65 per cent increase in overall gaming revenue for the province.
The report, released on Wednesday, covers the period of July 1 to Sept. 30. The figures do not include the government-owned Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) iGaming platform, or the free bets or other promotional wagers offered by various websites.
Total wagers placed during the quarter amounted to $6.04 billion, up 48 per cent from the $4.08 billion booked in iGO’s inaugural financials released in August. The latest report shows the market grew to 24 operators running 42 gaming websites, from 18 running 31 sites in the previous quarter.
Active player accounts and average monthly spend increased as well, according to the report. iGO counted 628,000 active accounts, up from 492,000 in the first quarter. Average monthly spend jumped more than 25 per cent to $142 from $113.
Following Ottawa's move to legalize new forms of betting last summer, including individual sports games and events, Ontario has set itself apart from other provinces by allowing private companies to compete with government-run betting outlets.
While iGO's latest figures show the industry gaining traction, revenue is on track to fall well short of some early forecasts.
U.S. consulting firm VIXIO GamblingCompliance estimated the Ontario market to be worth about $1.6 billion in gross gaming revenue this year, rising to $2.36 billion in 2023.
Private companies operating in the province took their first bets on April 4. The promise of an open, competitive market in Ontario has lured a number of industry heavyweights like Boston-based DraftKings (DKNG) to the province. However, restrictions on advertising free bets and other inducements, as well as competitors from outside the new legal system, have posed headwinds.
"We always said that we didn't think we'd be able to achieve quite the same share as we believe we will be able to achieve in the U.S.," DraftKings CEO Jason Robins told analysts on an Aug. 5 post-earnings conference call.
A number of private sportsbooks and online betting websites that operated for years outside of Ontario’s laws have joined the legal market, like industry giant Bet365. In August, Wall Street analysts told Yahoo Finance Canada that companies with roots in the so-called “grey market” are likely to dominate the early innings of the new legal industry in Ontario by leveraging their experience in Canada's most populous province.
Earlier this month, the AGCO set Oct. 31 as the deadline for illegal betting platforms to transition into the legal market. The agency says unregulated operators must halt their operations by this date to avoid jeopardizing the eligibility for registration.
Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.