Conducted in February 2024

Ontario: Over 86% of online gamblers bet on regulated sites, study reveals

Reading time 2:02 min

A new study commissioned by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and iGaming Ontario has found that the vast majority of people participating in online gaming in the province are doing so on regulated sites. The report comes two years after Ontario adopted an open, regulated Internet gaming market. 

The Commission says that this represents a significant change from the estimated 70 percent of online gambling that occurred on unregulated sites before the Government of Ontario established what it calls "a safer, competitive, and regulated open market for Ontarians" in April 2022.

According to an Ipsos study conducted in February 2024, 86.4% of Ontarians who gambled online over the preceding three months gambled on regulated sites. This represents an increase from the 85.3% of iGaming participants who reported playing on regulated sites in a similar study conducted in 2023.

Since its launch in April 2022, Ontario’s iGaming model has been recognized internationally for championing work to displace the unregulated online gaming market,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “This made-in-Ontario, regulated market will continue to inspire global innovation, while ensuring a safer landscape for players and businesses alike.”

In 2022, the Government of Ontario worked with the AGCO and iGaming Ontario to launch an open online market that allows eligible private gaming operators, registered with the AGCO and under contract with iGO, to operate in the province. There are currently 47 registered operators offering 77 regulated sites to Ontarians.

However, despite this majority choice for legal sites, the study found that a notable portion of Ontario’s iGaming participants continues to wager on unregulated sites. The study found that 20.1% of those who had gambled online over the prior three months wagered on a combination of regulated and unregulated sites, while 13.6% did all their betting on unregulated sites. 

Participants named over 350 unregulated websites they have used, which the Commission says highlights how many illicit betting options can be accessed by Ontarians and the importance of continued efforts to shift players to Ontario’s legal gaming options.

Dr. Karin Schnarr, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of AGCO, said: “In Ontario, regulated sites are held to high standards of game integrity, data security, and player protections, including having significant responsible gaming safeguards. While it’s encouraging to see most participants are choosing regulated gaming options, those who are not are unfortunately risking far more than their wagers.”

Martha Otton, Executive Director, iGaming Ontario, added: “iGaming Ontario joins our operators, government, and AGCO in celebrating our success in attracting Ontarians to the safer, regulated iGaming market. We will continue to work in lockstep with the AGCO to enable Ontarians to play with confidence.”

In other recent Ontario news, the Responsible Gambling Council’s (RGC) recent annual Discovery Conference saw the Ontario Government commit a historic investment of CAD 9 million ($6.6 million) in funding through the Responsible Internet Gambling Fund (RIGF). The council said that this three-year investment into the RIGF is a "monumental moment" for RGC and "a clear demonstration of Ontario’s leadership" in online gambling safety and consumer protection.

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