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iGaming Ontario adds granularity to wagering & revenue metrics in Q1 2023/24

July 20, 2023

Initially, when iGaming Ontario produced their quarterly reports, they grouped together the revenue and wagering metrics across igaming categories.  They provided no breakdown for each of the three main igaming categories of casino, sports betting and online poker during their first year of operation.  However, gaming industry watchers made it clear from the outset that it made sense to provide this breakdown. It became clear during the first year of iGO that they had heard this request, and acknowledged it would be something they would look at providing once their first full year was under their belt. Good on their word, Q1 results of their second year came with the requested granularity by gaming vertical.


iGO quarter-over-quarter performance: surprisingly positive

Given the cyclicality of the igaming calendar, the fact that overall gaming revenues increased quarter-over-quarter, is quite positive. 2022/23 Q4 overall gaming revenue was $526m. Q1 of 2023/24 revenue is up to $545m.  With no NFL events, and ever-dwindling NBA & NHL events upon which to bet during the period, though there is no granular data for us to compare things concretely, we would suspect that any drop off in revenue at legal Ontario sportsbooks was more than made up for with an increase in casino revenue, accounting for the overall growth, QoQ.


More granularity in reporting will encourage more Ontario comparisons

Especially since the igaming news landscape is dominated by affiliate marketing content creators, with little editorial oversight, or actual knowledge of the wider igaming context but for what is in front of their nose, we will continue to see comparisons of Ontario to other US states with similar population sizes, like New Jersey, New York or Illinois.

However, this kind of comparison is not one that could be considered "apples-to-apples".  While America deals with their black market, Ontario deals with a much larger one in a relative sense. Many more operators from within the Caribbean will illegally serve players in Ontario, that will not serve players in NJ, NY, IL or other now regulated states.  Many of these "black market" operators are highly visible in the Ontario market through still-legal "dot-net" advertising campaigns on television. Such campaigns are not relegated to tertiary broadcasters or TV channels. They can be found on the CBC and all major channels.

Furthermore, Curacao-based, Russia-connected brands continue to illegally serve players in Ontario. These brands are widely visible through promotions and brand placements within international broadcasts of major European soccer leagues, as well as esports streamers and influencers, and non-compliant affiliate marketing sites that target a Canadian audience. Add it all together, and the reality is that compared to regulated US states, in a relative sense, a far larger proportion of gaming revenue will remain outside the regulated system in Ontario.


What can we expect in the next quarters of 2023/24?

With a relative slowdown in the number of new casino operators, and the fact that Ontario will be in its least busy sports season, the summer (again, the cyclicality issue), we would expect an overall drop in iGaming Ontario revenues. With 10 weeks of the 12, where there is essentially only MLB games from the traditional "top four" leagues - wagering handle will be down for certain. With the nicer weather, we would also expect less people on their computers, mobile and tablets playing casino and poker online.  As things get cooler, and the NFL hits its stride in Q3 (OCT through DEC), results will peak for the year.



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