Northern Exposure: Study Commends Ontario’s Regulatory Model For High Channelization Rate

Each week, Canada Sports Betting recaps all the top sports betting and iGaming news in Canada and highlights upcoming events.

Our top stories this week

Event of the week

UFC 299 – Saturday, March 9

Mixed martial arts bettors have an exciting event to look forward to on Saturday night, when UFC 299 gets underway from Miami, Florida.

Sean O’Malley (-295 at NorthStar Bets) will defend his bantamweight title against Marlon Vera (+225) in the main event. These fighters last met at UFC 252 in August 2020, with Vera winning by first-round stoppage after crippling O’Malley’s left leg with a perfectly placed low kick. It’s the only loss suffered by O’Malley in his professional career (17-1-1).

The UFC 299 card won’t feature any Canadians this time around.

Check back with Canada Sports Betting on Friday for a full betting preview of the event!

Ontario’s gambling model shines in new joint study

Earlier this week, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA, in conjunction with H2 Gambling Capital and the Canadian Gaming Association, released a study that analyzes the comparative impact of restrictive and liberal market regulation of sports-betting products on consumer protection, regulatory oversight, taxable revenue, market and sports integrity. The study draws on sports betting operator data, IBIA alert data, and H2’s own market data.

Titled “The Availability of Sports Betting Products: An Economic and Integrity Analysis,” the 70-page study’s central finding is that there is a strong correlation between the wide availability of sports betting products and the proportion of consumers who place bets with onshore regulated sports betting operators (known as the channelling rate), thereby reducing the risks of exposure to sports betting related fraud on unlicensed markets.

The report highlights Ontario’s regulatory model for sports wagering, particularly for its high rate of market channelization, strong and transparent regulatory framework and having the “most advanced model” of betting integrity monitoring.

Some of the data highlights include:

  • Ontario’s online sports betting channelization is expected to reach 92% in 2024. In contrast, the rest of Canada combined is forecast to have an onshore rate of around 11% and is expected to lose $2bn in taxable sports betting GGR offshore during 2024-28.
  • Ontario, which only opened its market in 2022, immediately overtook the German market’s onshore sports betting channelization rate and is expected to overtake Australia’s in 2023-24. Ontario is expected to have a 92% onshore rate in 2024. Whilst the well-established market in Great Britain, which similarly permits in-play betting, is forecast to have 97% onshore channelization.
  • Canada (excluding Ontario) is forecast to lose nearly $2bn in taxable sports betting GGR offshore during 2024-28. Using the same tax model as Ontario, that equates to around $395m in lost tax revenue. Alberta, Quebec, and British Columbia combined account for around 75% of that figure.
  • Alberta is reported to be considering adopting a licensing model similar to Ontario’s for online gambling regulation. If that model was introduced from the start of 2025, that could bring around $400m in taxable sports betting GGR back onshore during 2025-28 on current offshore market forecasts. However, a regulated commercial market would also be expected to grow the overall market and the true taxable GGR potential is therefore expected to be higher.

The CGA partnered with The Brazilian Institute of Responsible Gaming, The Netherlands Online Gaming Association, and Responsible Wagering Australia to sponsor the study.

Ontario is currently the only province to adopt a regulated online gambling model, but there is interest from the current Alberta government in creating a similar online gambling ecosystem by the end of this year. A coalition of online gambling operators and suppliers is advocating for a regulated market in Quebec, but the provincial government is heavily opposed to ending its monopoly on online gambling.

The complete study can be found below:

Caesars renews partnership with NHL

Caesars and the NHL have renewed their partnership with a multiyear extension south of the border in the United States, they jointly announced Thursday.

“This partnership renewal with the NHL comes at a time when Caesars Sportsbook continues to enhance its NHL betting product,” a spokesperson told CSB. “Caesars Sportsbook is the first and only sportsbook to currently offer NHL play-by-play markets via its partnership with Simplebet (in the U.S.). Hockey fans can now get closer to the ice than ever before with live real-time markets, including Next Goal markets like Next Goal Exact or Team Next Goal, Next Power Play markets like Next Power Play Result or Team Next Power Play Result, Next Occurrence markets like Next Shot on Goal or Next Faceoff Winning Team, and more.”

Every wager placed with Caesars rewards the bettor with Tier Credits for status and Reward Credits that can be used to unlock world-class Caesars Rewards experiences and discounted getaways at Caesars Entertainment destinations across the United States and Canada.

Last January, Caesars opened one of the first retail sportsbooks in Ontario at its Windsor property.

Other partners of the NHL in Canada include Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s PROLINE and PROLINE +, FanDuel, Bet99, and theScore Bet via PENN Entertainment, among others.

Entain releases 2023 financials

On Thursday, Entain, the parent company of brands like BetMGM, Ladbrokes, and Sports Interaction, among others, released its financial results for the year ending Dec. 31, 2023.

Total revenues including its share of BetMGM were up 14% YoY to £4.77bn or 2% up on a pro forma basis. Underlying EBITDA was up 4% to £857m. Interim CEO Stella David admitted during a conference call that those overall numbers were disappointing as Entain was perhaps too focused on improving its BetMGM product at the expense of the rest of the business.

There’s no specific data on Ontario in the year-end report but during a business update last December, BetMGM reported it had 22% online sports betting share in the province.

Some other highlights include:

  • BetMGM net gaming revenue was up 36% YoY to $1.96bn. Overall 2023 NGR of $1.96bn, +36% YoY at the top end of expectations.
  • The search for a new CEO is ongoing.
  • Group profit after tax before separately disclosed items was £339m.

RSI’s investor presentation

Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers) also provided a financial update on Thursday.

RSI reported a 17.1% year-on-year increase in revenue to $193.9m (USD) in Q4, leaving the business with an adjusted EBITDA of $11.5m, compared to an adjusted EBITDA loss of $17.3m in the prior year period. Despite the gains, RSI still reported a net loss of $5.5 million for the quarter.

More importantly, RSI says it grew Ontario revenue 50% YoY in 4Q23. The operator is forecasting that Canada has a $3.5 billion total addressable market at maturity (TAM) for iCasino and a $1.2 million TAM for online sports betting.

In the U.S. and Canada during Q4, same-game parlays as a % of bets increased over 80% YoY, while prop bet handle grew over 50% YoY.

Ontario is the only regulated Canadian market that BetRivers is participating in, but the operator could have an interest in expanding across Canada if other provinces elect to regulate their respective markets at some point.