Since the opening of its iGaming market for third-party operators, Ontario has become an online gaming heaven which led to a barrage of betting ads. In a recent Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts, CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Duncan Hannay, said operators need to cool down the volume of commercials.
In April 2022, Ontario became the first Canadian province to open up its online gambling sector for private brands. The first-of-its-kind market is operated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and has drawn plenty of interest from some of the largest operators in the industry. It should be noted, that the sector is separated from OLG’s iGaming activities.
In his Monday appearance, Mr. Hannay noted that the province now had 47 legal operators and it would be a good idea to have a better balance when it comes to betting commercials. He also remarked that the AGCO is currently working on the issue and hearing input from stakeholders from the province, operators, outside interests, public health organizations, and the OLG.
His comments were in response to questions from New Democratic Member of Provincial Parliament France Gélinas, who claimed that every ad in the Stanley Cup playoffs looked to be an iGaming one. She is worried about the impact on children, as they are overexposed to these ads. She raised questions about how much one can learn about iGaming by just watching the Stanley Cup.
As mentioned, Ontario’s new online gambling and sports betting model quickly turned into one of the leading ones in North America. For its first 12 months of operations, the province handled CA$35.6 billion in wagers and clocked CA$1.4 billion in revenue. In addition to that, in that time, active player accounts spend around CA$70 every month on playing.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hannay said the net proceeds for Ontario from the Crown agency’s online gaming model for the fiscal year ending on March 31 is projected to be around CA$302 million. If it comes to fruition, that would be more than the private iGaming market has managed to provide to the province for its first 12 months.
Furthermore, Deputy Finance Minister Greg Orencsak mentioned that AGCO is looking to review advertising rules. Previously the iGaming watchdog proposed banning sports stars and certain celebrities from participating in gambling commercials, as these personalities are idolized by children and teenagers. He added that the province should soon hear more about the topic from the regulator.
Reviewing Auditor General’s Report
Monday’s meeting also included considerations of the review by the Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk which was about the OLG as part of a last year’s annual report. It found that the Crown saw slower growth in online gambling revenue after the introduction of the province’s private-sector model. In contrast, in the quarter ending September 2022, OLG reported CA$108 million in revenue, while the private market brought CA$267 million.
Source: Zochodne, Geoff “Ontario Lottery CEO Wants ‘Better Balance’ of Sports Betting, iGaming Ads” Covers, May 29, 2023