Ontario’s Gambling Landscape Blossoms with Diverse Online Operators. Ontario stands as the vibrant epicenter of online gambling, with 47 operators hailing from 14 different countries. In the realm of North American gambling markets, Ontario reigns supreme in diversity, showcasing the international origins of its online operators. This remarkable feat is all the more astonishing considering the province’s relatively young online casino industry, and it begs the question: How did Ontario manage to achieve such diversity in just over 18 months? The truth lies in Ontario’s early head start in the online gambling industry and its ingenious adaptation to the legal market.
The Grey-Market Prelude to Ontario’s Success
Ontario’s success story in the world of online gambling is, in part, a result of its thriving grey-market. Even before regulation, at least 46 grey-market operators were already serving Ontarians’ gambling appetites. While some of these operators sought opportunities in non-legal grey trade avenues, others opted to continue their operations within the regulated market. This allowed Ontario residents to continue betting with familiar brands in a safer environment. In a surprising twist, all formerly illegal grey-market operators were welcomed back into Ontario’s reimagined sports betting and online casino space upon regulation.
An Invitation to All Operators
Ontario’s allure to operators doesn’t stop at its grey-market success. The registration criteria established by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and its subsidiary branch, iGaming Ontario, offer a green light for prospective operators to pursue opportunities within the province. Remarkably, there is no cap on the number of operators that can engage in business in Ontario. However, operators must adhere to stringent responsible gambling policies to obtain and maintain their licenses after receiving approval. With all criteria met and the $100,000 registration fee per site paid, operators have the freedom to conduct business in Ontario. The 20% tax rate, in comparison to other jurisdictions, is not overly burdensome. This, combined with the legalization of online casinos, offers operators a more promising avenue for profitability compared to sports betting alone, which often carries thin margins. A particularly operator-friendly aspect is that businesses do not need a physical presence in Ontario to enter the market, as pointed out by iGaming Ontario’s Executive Director, Martha Otton.
The European Influence
One distinctive feature of Ontario’s online gambling market is the significant presence of operators with European origins, setting it apart from other North American gambling jurisdictions. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon, including Ontario’s strong colonial ties and the high number of European operators already operating in the gray market before legalization. Moreover, the lower entry costs to Ontario’s market and Europe’s more mature online casino industry have made it an attractive destination for European operators. Out of the 67 Ontario sites (with some operators controlling multiple sites), a remarkable 45 of them have their origins in Europe, making Ontario a thriving hub for international players in the online gambling industry.