Canada Could Be $2B Sports Betting Market, Say Research Firms

Posted on: August 31, 2021, 10:41h. 

Last updated on: August 31, 2021, 03:37h.

Single-game sports wagering is just a few days old in Canada. But that’s not preventing some research firms from forecasting big things for the newest addition to the North American sports wagering market.

Canada sports betting
Canada could be a major sports betting market. Ontario, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, will lead the way. (Image: Toronto Star)

The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act went into effect on Aug. 27, setting the stage for regulation at the provincial level. With that comes a significant opportunity for operators and governments alike. Under a bull case scenario, single-game wagering in Canada could lead to a handle of $25.3 billion, revenue of $2.02 billion, and tax receipts of $404 million, according to PlayCanada.

The more modest base case is still impressive. It includes a handle of $20.6 billion, a top line of $.146 billion, and tax collections of $278 million.

That ceiling represents the base-case scenario in which provinces and territories universally adopt an open, competitive framework,” says the research firm. “It seems likely that most jurisdictions will instead offer sports betting through their provincial lottery corporations, allowing them to keep a proportionally larger share of a much smaller pie.”

That doesn’t mean provinces won’t eventually warm to more competitive marketplaces. In the US, several states with lottery-only sports betting offerings lag others with more diverse landscapes.

Good News for Operators: Ontario Likes US Model

While some provinces will go the lottery-only way, operators will find relief and opportunity in Canada in Ontario because that region is likely to embrace the US way of doing things.

“Ontario is instead going to adopt the approach that has worked best in the US, opening its marketplace to competition from commercial sportsbook operators and imposing a traditional tax on proceeds,” says PlayCanada.

That’s important to gaming companies wanting slices of the Canadian sports betting pie because Ontario is the country’s largest province. It’s home 14.57 million of the country’s 37.59 million residents, and is the most diverse from a sports perspective, with four professional teams from US leagues — two NHL franchises, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, and Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays.

Ontario opting for a more open approach is relevant to an array of gaming companies. Earlier this month, Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) said it’s shelling out $2 billion in cash and equity to acquire Toronto-based Score Media and Gaming (NASDAQ:SCR), in part to bolster its Canada profile. Score is the most recognizable sports wagering brand in Canada.

Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR), by way of operating an Ontario casino, and DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) are also viewed as potential winners in the province.

Other Brands That Could Get Involved

In addition to Caesars, DraftKings, and Penn/Score, PlayCanada says Bet365, BetMGM, FanDuel, and PointsBet are among the other operators that could pursue Canada exposure.

The single-game expansion could also be a boon for betting technology providers, which can sign contracts with sportsbook operators and lotteries. That group could include local firms, such as Elys Game Technology (NASDAQ:ELYS) and Bragg Gaming (NASDAQ:BRAG).

For those companies and others, it could be all eyes on Ontario over the near term.

“Ontario is already responsible for more than half of all regulated sports betting revenue in Canada, with annual proceeds of around $300 million from parlays alone,” notes PlayCanada. “That share might even grow with the addition of single-game wagering, again depending on the implementation in other provinces.”

The research firm says “one or two” other provinces could follow Ontario in embracing a US model. But it didn’t know which ones are most likely to do that.