AGCO study finds Ontarians prefer regulated igaming websites

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A co-commissioned study by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario has found that over 86 per cent of online gamblers in Ontario prefer to wager in the regulated igaming market.

Conducted by Ipsos in February this year, the study interviewed 2,016 Ontarians aged over 19, including a general population sample of 1,009 and an additional sample boost of 1,007 who had gambled or wagered real money bets online in the past three months.

Ipsos noted that “quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the general population sample’s composition reflects that of the Ontario population according to census parameters”, which resulted in a total sample of 1,299 Ontarians who gambled or wagered real money bets online in the past three months. 

The study found that 86.4 per cent of Ontarians who wager online did so with regulated operators in the past three months. In a similar study conducted in 2023, this figure stood at 85.3 per cent.

However, the study also discovered that 19.9 per cent of those who had gambled online during the three months wagered on regulated and unregulated sites. Meanwhile, 13.6 per cent of those surveyed wagered solely on unregulated sites in the same period.

As of April 4, the Ontario igaming market has 47 registered operators and 77 regulated websites.

Dr Karin Schnarr, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of the AGCO, commented: “In Ontario, regulated sites are held to high standards of game integrity, data security and player protections, including having significant responsible gaming safeguards. 

“While it’s encouraging to see most participants are choosing regulated gaming options, those who are not are unfortunately risking far more than their wagers.”

Before the Canadian province’s igaming and sports betting market was regulated in April 2022, the percentage of Ontarians who gambled online on unregulated sites was estimated to be 70 per cent.

The study also states that 35.2 per cent of Ontarians have gambled online in the past year, 29.5 per cent in the past three months and 20.3 per cent in the past month.

“iGaming Ontario joins our operators, government, and AGCO in celebrating our success in attracting Ontarians to the safer, regulated igaming market,” noted Martha Otton, Executive Director of iGaming Ontario.

“We will continue to work in lockstep with the AGCO to enable Ontarians to play with confidence.”

Doug Downey, Attorney General of Ontario, added: “Since its launch in April 2022, Ontario’s igaming model has been recognised internationally for championing work to displace the unregulated online gaming market. 

“This made-in-Ontario, regulated market will continue to inspire global innovation, while ensuring a safer landscape for players and businesses alike.”