Ontario residents have experienced their first week with access to single-event sports wagering, and the provincial operator has reported betting handle of more than CA$100m (US$800,000) in just five days of the expanded market. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
An encouraging first week
Canada finally decided to open the door to a multibillion-dollar industry this year by legalizing single-event wagering. Bill C-218 officially became effective last Friday, meaning the nation has now experienced its first week with an expanded market. So far, Canada’s largest province has shown some very promising results.
Single-event wagering accounted for about 74% of bets
On Wednesday, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC) announced betting handle of more than CA$1m (US$800,000) for the first five days of single-event wagering. The provincial operator is facilitating betting through a new platform called PROLINE+. Single-event wagering accounted for about 74% of bets placed through the platform since last Friday.
PROLINE+ accepted its very first single-event wager on a professional baseball game between Minnesota and Milwaukee. According to the OLGC, the sport dominated betting figures, with wagers on baseball, American football, and soccer accounting for around 82% of all taken. Bettors placed almost 37% of all wagers in-play.
Early registration helps numbers
The OLGC announced its new platform, PROLINE+, shortly after the government confirmed August 27 as the effective date for Bill C-218. It described the sportsbook as “a new, enhanced betting experience with dynamic odds,” offering prices on all North American major leagues and some international sports. To allow gamblers to beat the rush to sign up, the operator opened up registration last month.
In a statement accompanying Wednesday’s results, OLGC chief digital and strategy officer Dave Pridmore described “excellent engagement” with bettors who signed up early. He also expressed optimism for continued growth with the NFL soon to kickoff. “We only expect to see the number of new users increase as word about PROLINE+ continues to spread, particularly as the American football season gets underway next week,” he commented.
The upcoming NFL season begins next Sunday September 9 with a game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys. Although this is the first year Canadians will have the option of single-event NFL wagering, the league regularly accounts for the largest majority of wagers for Canada’s neighbor to the South. Overall, US sportsbooks took bets of $4.3bn on the Super Bowl alone last year.
And the rest of Canada?
While Ontario may serve as Canada’s largest province with a population of 14.5 million, operators in the country’s other regions are also expecting large returns from the legalization of single-event wagering.
1,208 new PlayNow users in the first week
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BLCB) earned a record-breaking $252m for the province during the fiscal year 2020/21. However, it looks like those numbers will be rising considerably over the next 12 months. The operator registered 1,208 new PlayNow users in the first week of single-event wagering.
The betting platform saw a 96% rise in the number of wagers, in addition to a 72% increase in the amount spent in comparison to the previous week. Gamblers placed a significant portion of those bets on a boxing match between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley on August 19, accounting for handle of CA$40,000 (US$31,897) in total. Around 93% of those were singles.
So far, other operators are yet to release any figures, but at least three other provincial lotteries have launched single-event betting platforms. This includes the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission, the Manitoba Liquor, and Lotteries Corporation, and Loto Québec.