Ontario Gaming Sector Still Faces Stiff Competition Within Canada

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Online sports betting has been legal in Canada for quite some time. This also included iGaming for casino play. Each of the country’s provinces had a hand in the industry through ownership of government lottery corporations.

Canada’s sports betting industry received a major boost last August with the legalization of single-game wagers on individual events. While the rest of Canada’s provinces took this change in stride, Ontario decided to expand into the commercial sector.


On April 4 2022, commercial sportsbook and iGaming operators officially opened for business. In what was expected to be the next gold rush, the government-owned lottery corporations across the country have held their own.

Ontario is Canada’s most populated province, with Toronto the centerpiece as a major international city. Home to 15 million people, this province was expected to be the focal point of legal online gaming in Canada.

The early results have been rather impressive for Ontario gaming from a volume standpoint. However, a few of the other provinces are booming as well. To date, there are 20 gaming operators in Ontario. This list includes major US players such as FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM.

Yet, a recent survey showed that Atlantic Canada had more gaming traffic. Atlantic Canada consists of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. This region is home to a combined 2.5 million people. According to this survey, Atlantic Canada has the highest concentration of online bettors and gamblers in Canada.

The percentage of people gambling online in these four provinces is 41%. Ontario and British Columbia were next at 33%. The province of Quebec, including the city of Montreal, came in at 26%. Alberta (24%) and Manitoba/Saskatchewan (22%) were next on the list.

Atlantic Canada was also first on the list in online betting account registrations. Ontario ranks just as high with an almost even split between OLG as the government-owned operator and the commercial sector.

As an interesting sidebar, the survey did uncover that 56% of gamblers in Canada prefer to bet with commercial online operators. The other 44% were in favor of provincial government gaming sites. The lone exception was in Quebec with Lotoquebec registering an impressive 57% market share.

One of the biggest reasons for the heavy lean towards commercial operators centered on betting odds and payouts. The survey found that 36% of respondents noted the favorable odds and payouts at commercial gaming sites. Only 12% of the respondents said the same about provincial sites.

Single-game betting on sports was first available in Ontario, British Columbia and New Brunswick after the change in the law. Alberta is the only other Canadian province looking to expand into the commercial sector at this time. Nova Scotia was the last Canadian province to offer single-game wagers on sports.

Written by Dave Schwab, our North American sports betting industry expert.