Gaming Companies Satisfied With Early Ontario Returns

August 8, 2022
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Several operators expressed satisfaction with their performance in Ontario’s regulated online gaming market to date, but with revenue data still unreleased for the province, that satisfaction remains somewhat muted.

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Several operators expressed satisfaction with their performance in Ontario’s regulated online gaming market to date, but with revenue data still unreleased for the province, that satisfaction remains somewhat muted.

Ontario’s new sports betting and online casino market launched April 4, but regulators have yet to release any data on how the new market is performing four months into the process.

Despite the lack of intel, several operators during their second quarter earnings calls expressed positivity about their performance and the market’s potential on the whole.

Some of the heaviest hitters in the U.S. sports betting and online gaming market, including DraftKings and BetMGM, say that the results to date have met their expectations.

“We're exactly where we thought we would be, particularly with our iGaming business,” said Bill Hornbuckle, CEO of MGM Resorts International. “Obviously, as you know, it was a great market that's now been regulated.”

“We're in the single digit, high single-digit market share and growing,” he continued. “It’s clearly a real marketplace that is used to iGaming and sports betting, and so our entry into that has been productive, and we're pretty excited about where that ultimately all goes.”

“I think Ontario is kind of what we expected,” said DraftKings CEO Jason Robins. “We always said that we didn't think we'd be able to achieve quite the same share as we believe we will be able to achieve in the US, we have projected 10 to 20 percent in Ontario as opposed to 20 to 30 percent in U.S. states.”

Robins ascribed that in part to the challenges of entering a market with established grey market operators who are able to transfer their operations to the regulated market and retain player databases.

“We also always had said pretty consistently that we thought it would be more of a slower grind given the nature of the market, where there was just a lot of continuity between the grey market and now versus, I think, U.S. states, which when they open up, it's really more greenfield, so I think that those are some real key differences.”

“We always sort of felt like…we can achieve strong share, but probably wouldn't have quite the same ceiling that we believe we have in the U.S. and don't have the same expectation that we would have in the U.S.”

“That said, we've always had a very strong DFS database there. We have a brand that's fairly well known in Canada. And I think for those reasons, we do feel like we can do well there.”

PointsBet is one of the few operators to release any actual data about the performance to date, reporting a $200,000 combined net win for sportsbook and online casino in the second quarter.

“PointsBet is a new brand in Ontario, so we continue to focus on building awareness of who we are, given the levels of competitive intensity, there's 19 licensed operators and existing grey market providers still in operation,” said PointsBet Canada CEO Scott VanderWel, adding that the company is “pleased” with the early results.

“Our approach has been to stand out from the sea of sameness that customers are seeing through mass media and to engage with our target customers more directly through our strategic partnerships with key sports teams and organizations.”

Penn Entertainment, the rebranded Penn National Gaming, sought to make a big impact in Ontario with its purchase of Toronto-based media company theScore.

CEO Jay Snowden said the company was “very pleased” with the early performance and said the company had seen strong conversion rates from theScore’s media assets, as well as a good cross-sell rate from sports betting to online casino.

“I think we'll be a double-digit market share player in Ontario, both in online sports and online casino,” Snowden said. “Again, we don't have public numbers yet, but when it's released, we think that's where we'll be.”

“I think as it relates to the grey market in Ontario, clearly, the Bet365’s of the world has been at it for a long time, and we've really been focused on bringing new people into the ecosystem and then conversion of theScore media followers into sports bettors, and we've been very pleased with our ability to do that.”

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