Canada is known as the country whose national sport is hockey, however, an early survey finds that Ontarians a much more attracted to basketball when it comes it placing wagers online. Online operators who have managed to acquire a local license are reporting that most of the wagers go to basketball, with hockey following closely second.
Ontario’s is Canada most populous province as it has a population of 15 million residents. This accounts for nearly 40% of the total population in the country. The jurisdiction is also the home of many professional teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and Toronto Blue Jays. And thanks to its new iGaming market, it is even easier for bettors to wager on their local teams.
Basketball Preferred over Hockey
A recent study has discovered that the NBA was the most popular betting preference for Ontario bettors in April. It came first with 27.6% of the wagers, then the NHL was a close second with 22.1% of the April handle. The NFL and the MLB were third and fourth with 13% and 8.3% respectively. However, it is important to mention that the NFL was in the off-season, and it is expected to boom in the fall.
theScore Bet is one of the provincially approved operators, and its VP, Aubrey Levy, shared that more than 80% of users wagering on Ontario teams. According to the VP, Toronto’s pro teams have been quite good this year, as the Raptors and Maple Leafs both enjoyed a strong season, before going out in the first round of the playoff in their respective field.
PointsBet Canada, which is another one of the locally certified companies, is also noticing that basketball is the preferred choice. Its CCO, Nic Sulsky, said that basketball is extremely popular, and that is due to in-play betting. In his words, hockey is more difficult to wager on as there are fewer stats and limited in-play options right now, as well as less scoring.
Dale Hooper, who is General Manager of FanDuel Canada has also shared that the NBA has been the most preferred choice when it comes to online sports betting. Closely followed by NHL and the MLB. He also informs that international sports such as soccer and tennis are also gaining momentum. In his words, local bettors are quite fond of the prop bets around NBA stars.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which just recently inked an agreement with the MLB, is also reporting heavy betting volume outside of hockey. A spokesperson for the Crown corporation informed that 34.5% of all hockey bets on PROLINE+ involve the Maple Leafs during a four-game stretch in their opening series.
As the NBA playoffs are nearing their end this Thursday night and the Stanley Cup Finals are now in progress, operators predict that the wagering volume will experience more volatility. They also predict that volume will spike with baseball and CFL action in the summer, and after that, the focus will be turned on the NLF
Source: Warren, Greg “Why Are Ontarians Betting More On Basketball Than Hockey?”, SportsHandle, June 20, 2022