Ontario has most recently kicked off its long-awaited new and regulated online sports wagering and gaming market for private operators. However, gambling experts from the province are worried that with the increased accessibility to such offerings many local bettors could suffer from gambling-related problems. That is why they offer some pieces of advice for all eligible bettors.
The province’s new regime has officially commenced on April 4, 2022, and it allows for operators approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to offer online wagering products in the jurisdiction. Registered entities will be even able to offer products under the single-event wagering vertical, as last summer Canada legalized the product.
Incentivizing Risk Behavior
Since it is a new market, and sportsbooks are trying to attract players, many of them are offering some hefty welcome bonuses, in the form of free CA$50 of sign-up and referral bonuses. Mike Naraine, assistant professor of sports management at Brock University is concerned that these promotions create the illusion for players that they are in a winning position when they are not.
According to the expert, the free credits only incentivize players to increase their behavior and gamifies a potentially addictive activity. Mr. Naraine explains that consumers that don’t use big sums are more likely to be hit, as they believe that the low sums are harmless. In his words, by placing small wagers, players do not realize the accumulated losses and they often overlook it.
Harvey Marmurek, professor of psychology at the University of Guelph, indicated that responsible gaming on some platforms may mask irresponsible gambling across others. For instance, if players set up a wagering limit on one site, they can transfer and play on the other until the other limit is hit. That is why cross-platform monitoring is needed, says Mr. Marmurek
In order to limit problem gambling, Mr. Naraine has advised sports bettors to wager only what they are willing to lose. Another piece of advice from him is for players to stay away from the casino verticals of an online sportsbook, as they also often offer such services. According to him, sports betting has a set number of games per day, while iGaming offers unlimited playtime.
In addition to that, the expert also advises people to limit apps to just one or two instead of downloading five, six, or even more. This way consumers will expose themselves to increase marketing activity from multiple providers. And there is plenty of variety in the market, as the AGCO has licensed over 25 operators, who are eligible to offer their products in the province.
Big Brands Come to the Scene
Gaming giants FanDuel has also made its debut in Ontario’s brand-new marketplace. Days before the start of the market, the company announced that it will be going live in the province and launching its sportsbook app. It is powered by IGT’s PlaySports platform, and it comes with Same Game Parlay™ bets (SGP), Odds Boosts, Data Visuals, Streaming options, and more.
Source: Golob, Leah “As single-sports betting arrives in Ontario, experts warn of pitfalls to avoid”, Toronto Star, April 19, 2022