Ontario Ranks High, Several States Try to Pass iGaming Bills

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Ontario ranks high in the sports betting industry, as the Canadian province is now a top-five market in North America. Illinois ended a billion-dollar streak in February. Vermont continues to move closer to legalizing sports betting.

Ontario Ranks High in Recent Betting Data

The Ontario Province’s favorite team to wager on in its first year of legal betting was the Toronto Blue Jays.  The team has great young talent and many bettors took advantage of the lines. However, the Ontario betting market has achieved something that is tough to overlook in its inaugural year.

According to recent data, Ontario ranks at the top of North America’s online casino market. Across multiple platforms, users wagered about $35.6 billion CAD, generating roughly $1.4 billion in tax receipts. Using the USD conversion rate, $26.5 billion was wagered in Ontario.

Looking at a recent study, the data depicts that 85.3 percent of users placed wagers on regulated sites. That means the average consumer is moving away from offshore, unregulated sports betting sites.

When the launch began, Ontario had only 12 operators and has steadily grown to 45. The iGO reports over 1.6 million active accounts. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has approved over 5,000 licensed games. On a per-consumer basis, the average active bettor has $69 in their account.

There is still more work that needs to be done. A large base of people that still use unregulated sites throughout the year. Tom Mungham, registrar and CEO of AGCO believes that the substantial shift to regulated sites is a strong start.

Illinois Looks to Rebound March After Ending Its Streak 

In its January launch, Ohio cleared $1.1 billion in handle, and the Prairie State accumulated what was necessary to take the status back. The Illinois Gaming Board registered a combined handle of $875.4 million in February. That ended its $1 billion streak at four consecutive months.

In the final quarter of 2022, Illinois finished third to New Jersey for the first time since last August. Although Arizona has yet to post its monthly report for the second month of the year, it’s highly unlikely the state will topple its all-time record of $691 million. That was set back in March 2022. 

Despite hosting the Super Bowl, the projected numbers will not be enough to surpass Illinois in the handle department. Additionally, Illinois became the fifth state to surpass $20 billion in handle post-PASPA, joining New Jersey, Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s March report is due next week, but Illinois will temporarily move into the fourth position.

Based on a completed events handle of $880.5 million, adjusted gross revenue totaled $68.4 million, or 7.8%. A total of $10.3 million in taxes were collected by the state.  Nearly $704,000 was collected by Cook County on the $35.2 million in adjusted gross revenue generated by wagers within the county. Cook County is the home of the city of Chicago.

Throughout the first two months of the year, Illinois has collected $24.7 in tax receipts and is approximately $9.4 million ahead of 2022’s pace. It’s proof that that sports betting has taken off in the state.

Vermont is Working on Joining the Sports Betting Industry 

The second smallest state is making progress in its legislative session. Vermont is behind its regional neighbors in the sports betting industry. As of Wednesday, the Vermont Senate’s Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee amended and advanced H127, which allows only mobile wagering in the Green Mountain State.

In a 4-1 vote, the Economic, Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee advanced the bill. By voice vote, the bill passed the House on March 24. Now, only the Senate chamber stands in the way.

The session ends on May 19th so there is a limited amount of time to iron out differences and gain more supporters along the way. Vermont senators proposed in committee to ban sportsbooks from advertising at events where most of the audience is under the age of 21.

Ontario Ranks High but Other States Still Trying to Pass Laws

States like Ohio have taken a serious approach as several sportsbook operators have been subject to fines for mailing and targeting that specific target demographic. In addition, five percent of tax revenue is to be directed to a newly created fund that revolves around combating and dealing with problem gambling. Many other states in the industry have already considered doing so.

The amended bill also states that the Department of Mental Health will receive $250,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2024 and $500,000 in FY 2025 to “establish and administer a problem gambling program.” 

The sportsbook operators that want the opportunity to conduct business in the state will be required to submit plans on how they will prevent these ads from reaching people under the age of 21.

Vermont Singles Out Sports Wagering

If everything goes according to plan, Vermont will be just the third state in the industry to have online sports betting only. The most notable jurisdiction is Tennessee, while Wyoming is the other market.  There is a $412,500 annual license fee if only two platforms are live, and it drops to $320,833 if six platforms are live. According to the House version of the bill, the annual fee would be $275,000.

The bill does not indicate if the Department of Liquor and Lottery would enter into a revenue-sharing model with any operators, but a minimum revenue share would be set at 20 percent for the state. Revenue-sharing models are also in place in several lottery-regulated legal wagering states.

In technical terms, Maine doesn’t have an active sports betting market, but the state is developing its regulatory framework. Regardless of how everything goes, Vermont will be the only state in the region to legalize sports gambling.