Fact checked by Wilbur Thompson.
Over the last year, Ontario has taken the lead in the regulation of online sportsbooks and casinos in Canada. As a result, the province has emerged as Canada’s premier destination for wagering, boasting an impressive array of offerings from government-run and private operators. According to iGaming Ontario, the sector generated about $35.6 billion in total handle and approximately $1.4 billion in total gaming revenue in its first year alone, making it a proven success with the financials to back it up.
It’s no surprise that other provinces are now looking to follow Ontario’s example, such as Alberta, where there is only one regulated gaming site available, PlayAlberta. However, the site has witnessed tremendous growth since launching its sports offering a year and a half ago, and the government is keen to see the successful and legal implementation of an expanded sports betting market.
British Columbia is also ready for an expanded market, with its industry-leading responsible gambling program, GameSense, and just one legal gaming website, PlayNow.com. Single-event sports betting has been particularly popular on PlayNow, generating $170 million in bets in the first 12 months. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation is currently evaluating what sports betting experiences could be available, and while there’s no definite plan yet, the province is cautiously optimistic about the future.
Quebec presents an interesting case, as the birthplace of Canadian lotteries with a rich history of sporting success and the second largest provincial population in Canada. Despite having all the necessary criteria for a successful sports wagering market, Loto-Quebec’s Mise-O-Jeu is the only regulated sports betting website available in the province. However, with Quebec closely monitoring Ontario’s market dynamics, it’s possible that the province is taking a similar approach to Alberta, waiting to see how things play out before making any moves.
Lastly, Atlantic Canada which is made up of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation oversees all single-event sports betting there, and the region’s potential expansion bid is likely to rely on a ‘strength in numbers’ strategy, counting on harmony within the shared region for success. Together, the four Atlantic provinces have a population of about 2.5 million people, making it the fifth-largest territory in Canada. If sales are strong and harmony prevails, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation could conceivably receive the green light for expansion in the not-so-distant future.