Betting Hero: Ontario is still grappling with its grey market past

FansUnite’s Betting Hero subsidiary has suggested that more than half (51 per cent) of sports bettors accessed a grey market mobile sportsbook before the province’s legal ecosystem commenced in April 2022.

This study by the group follows iGaming Ontario reporting its first quarter of gaming operations since the market launched in April earlier this week, which saw total revenue coming in at $162m. 

In addition to this grey market usage, it was also found that 38 per cent opted for Bet365, which operated in the Ontario grey market and is now licensed and regulated, as their preferred betting platform.

Furthermore, 25 per cent of those quizzed said that they would try a new sports betting app because of promotions, which equates to roughly half (51 per cent) of New Jersians and 49 per cent of New Yorkers.

Payments were also stated to be “the biggest customer headache” with 31 per cent stating that funding issues and slow withdrawal times are their biggest frustration. This is more than double the 13 per cent of New Yorkers who were said to share that frustration. 

However, Canadian and US similarities were expressed in betting preferences, with bettors preferring the NFL (61 per cent), NBA (57 per cent) and NHL (44 per cent).This mirrors New Jersey’s rates of 94 per cent, 74 per cent, and 50 per cent, respectively.

“Betting Hero’s latest sports betting and igaming assessment reveals that Ontario is understandably still grappling with its grey market past,” said Jai Maw, Betting Hero President.

“Sports bettors in Canada have noticeably different betting behaviours than their American counterparts. They’re less attracted to, and in many cases less aware of, available promotions and are seemingly more loyal to their preferred sportsbook.

“Unfortunately for new entrants to Ontario’s emerging legal sports betting market, that loyalty seems to be heavily weighted in favour of companies previously operating in Ontario’s grey market.

“Legacy US and European sports betting companies entering Ontario could greatly benefit from tailoring their marketing and retention strategies to meet the unique needs of the Canadian consumer and regulatory environment.”