Each province in Canada is free to legalize or shun online gambling. While many have been against it for a long time, the authorities are starting to see the financial benefits. It’s clear that this booming market can deliver an incredible financial injection to each province, and that’s precisely the reason why many join the fray.
Ontario is the latest to do so, after legalizing online sports betting and casino gambling on April 4, 2022. It allows private operators and sportsbooks to take online bets within the province. It wasn’t like that before, since only the government-owned Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. provided these services.
It’s a bold move that shows there’s no ignoring this market. Playing games in an online casino in Canada is one of the favourite pastimes in the country, and it’ll be a hit in Ontario as well.
What It Means for Players
Until now, players from Ontario weren’t able to play online casino games or bet on sports on the web legally within the province. Many of them resorted to playing in offshore casinos, but that just meant a lot of money lost for the government. Calls for legalization have been loud in the past few years, but the government weighed its options. The total amount of money spent in offshore casinos annually in Ontario was in the $500 million range, an amount that’s now expected to go to the province instead.
After officially launched online gambling in the province, many casinos and betting sites have flocked to it. There will be numerous homegrown online gaming companies on the market such as Toronto’s Rivalry, PointsBet, and ScoreBet. The government said that the whole idea was to get sites such as ScoreBet out of the illegal market, and that finally happened to the delight of players.
Gambling is a very popular pastime in Ontario. Land-based casinos are rightfully concerned about their future, as iGaming posts record profits in legal areas around the world year by year. Ontario is the fifth-largest market by population in North America, with growth expected to accelerated even further so it’s no wonder why that many operators are looking to get involved.
For players, this is a huge win. Those who have been afraid of the social stigma of gambling can now play anonymously from the comfort of their home. Sports betting is a hit in North America and Ontario too, and now that bettors can do it anytime and anywhere, it’s expected for bookies to turn in record profits. Operators are not impressed by the move, but many have realized that this is the future.
For example, Caesars Windsor has announced plans to launch an app soon that will make all of its games and services available online. Brick and mortar casinos may take a blow, but if they adapt to the new legal landscape, it shouldn’t be that big of a problem.
A Big Move for Canada Too
It’s not just Ontario that’s going to score big from this move. The whole iGaming market in Canada has plenty of reasons to celebrate. There’s another industry that will benefit from this move, although in an indirect way. Online gambling has been proven highly addictive, and since people can now play 24/7, addiction specialists are closely watching this space.
Ontario gaming sites are required to be part of Responsible Gambling programs, but that might not be enough. Healthcare organizations are expecting an influx of players with problem gambling in the next couple of years, and that’s fuelled by the rise of online casinos.
It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved, giving players and operators the thing they asked for the most.