NBA Ontario’s Most Wagered-On Sport, Third of Residents Bet Weekly, Survey Says

Posted on: May 23, 2022, 07:33h. 

Last updated on: May 23, 2022, 09:38h.

Single-game sports wagering has been live in Canada’s largest province for just short of two months. But some clear trends are already emerging, including the point that more than a third of Ontarians are betting at least once a week.

Ontario sports betting
Scenes from the Toronto Raptors first round playoff series. They were eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers, but the NBA remains the popular sport among Ontario sports bettors. (Image: The Globe and Mail)

That’s among the findings of a recent poll conducted by To be precise, the survey indicates 35% of Ontario residents are betting on sports at least once a week, less than the 39% that aren’t participating at all. Canada signed off on single-game sports betting last summer, but it didn’t launch in provinces until this year. It debuted in Ontario on April 4.

A quarter of those queried are making at least three bets per day. Some 70% of respondents claim to have won at least $1 on a bet, while 18% say they’ve won $51 to $100 on an individual wager.

NBA Favored, NHL Next as CFL Season Looms

Indicating there are residual benefits from the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 NBA championship, that sport is favored by 28% of Ontario bettors, followed by the NHL at 22%.

Both the Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs were eliminated in the first round of their leagues’ playoffs, and with two Canadian NHL teams — the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers — it’s possible hockey wagering picks up pace in the coming days. Ontario is home to Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Toronto Blue Jays, but the OntarioBets survey confirms just 8% of those polled are betting on baseball.

That’s behind the 13% betting on the NFL. That could be a sign Ontario bettors eagerly wagered on last month’s NFL draft or futures bets for the 2022 season. How sports bettors in the province allocate their cash could dramatically change as soon as next month with the start of the Canadian Football League (CFL).

The CFL and its players’ union recently announced a new labor agreement, ending the league’s second strike and ensuring the 2022 season will take place.

Operator Preferences

Among wagering companies, Bet365 is Ontarians’ sportsbook of choice at 18%, owing to the UK-based company’s established footprint in the province as a gray market operator. BetMGM was next at 17%, followed by FanDuel at 11%, Caesars Sportsbook at 8%, and Australia’s PointsBet at 7%, according to the survey.

The question posed was regarding bettors’ preferences, not market share. In the early stages of single-game betting in Ontario, Bet365, theScore Bet, and FanDuel raced to early leads in terms of mobile app downloads. TheScore was widely expected to be one of the leaders in the market because of strong brand recognition in the province and throughout Canada.

Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) owns theScore, while FanDuel is a unit of UK-based Flutter Entertainment (OTC:PDYPY). FanDuel is the largest online sportsbook operator in the US by market share. Last week, DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) announced its long-awaited Ontario entry.