Ontario’s competitive market for online gambling has turned out to be quite a success for the province. A recent report by Deloitte offers a closer look at what the market brought to the province in its first year of operations. The study found that it delivered over CA$761 million in tax revenue as well as providing almost 10,000 new job positions.
The province became the first one to let outside third-party operators offer online gaming and sports betting to Ontarians. The sector officially kicked off in April 2022, and it is overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario. Its launch came on the back of the decriminalization of single-event sport wagering by the federal government.
First Year Findings
Deloitte prepared the report on behalf of iGaming Ontario, and for its first year, it contributed over CA$1.6 billion to the province’s gross domestic product. It is projected that the figure will increase to around CA$4.7 billion in the next 10 years. In the first, year there were 45 licensed operators running a total of 76 gaming websites in the province.
Meanwhile, operators recorded CA$1.4 billion in revenue after a tax rate of 20%. Not many of the operators do have operations in the province, but some of them do and provided more than 1,800 direct jobs. Those positions had an average of CA$103,000 in annual compensation, which is around 41% higher than the Ontario average one of CA$73,000, according to Deloitte data.
In addition to that, the market generated another 7,900 indirect jobs which were created by suppliers to those gambling brands. The report also predicts that the iGaming sector could employ 17,660 people directly and indirectly in 10 years’ time. It also calculated those jobs induced by spending of those employees, could total approximately 5,000 in a decade.
Deloitte’s study also stated the sector accumulated CA$470 million in revenue for the province, which also includes the 20% which is taken as gambling revenue and sales tax. It also provided another CA$238 million for the federal government mainly from sales tax and CA$54 million for municipalities mainly from property taxes.
Discontent with Influx of Betting Ads
However, despite its positives such as revenue and new jobs for the province, some experts from the industry are unhappy with the currently circulating amount of gambling advertisements. AGCO proposed banning the use of sports athletes in such ads. It also wants to prohibit the use of cartoon figures, symbols, role models, social media influencers, celebrities or entertainers.
The Canadian Mental Health Association has also urged the province to take appropriate steps toward dealing with the barrage of betting ads. The organization wants to ban all iGaming ads as a way of protecting teens and young adults. It cited a 2021 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health study which discovered that 15% of students have participated in real-money gambling online.
Source: Dobby, Christine “Ontario’s online jackpot: Governments rake in $761M in new gaming industry that employs nearly 10,000 people” Toronto Star, June 14, 2023