Ontarians betting big on basketball in early weeks

A new survey aimed at shining light on the early weeks of Ontario’s regulated betting market has found that over three in 10 residents are betting on sports at least once a week and their preferred league is the NBA, reports the Canadian Press.

OntarioBets.com, a resource site that provides research and reviews of sportsbooks and online casinos and a part of the Gambling.com Group, found that 35 per cent of Ontarians surveyed said they bet on sports at least once a week while 39 per cent they don’t at all.

Max Bichsel, vice-president of OntarioBets.com, noted that the 35 per cent participation level was about on par with the average seen in a new jurisdiction, albeit in the slightly low range, which he attributed to Ontario’s considerable existing grey market before the regulated legal market went live on April 4.

One in four wagers three or more times daily and 48 per cent consider themselves moderate bettors as opposed to expert or professional.

Meanwhile, the NBA was the top choice of 28 per cent of respondents, ahead of the NHL (22 per cent), the NFL (13 per cent), MLB (eight per cent), the English Premier League (three per cent), the CFL (one per cent), and other leagues at four per cent.

Bichsel said the NBA’s popularity wasn’t too surprising given the Toronto Raptors’ still-recent success, but he expects hockey to remain popular throughout the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The survey also found that established betting giant Bet365 was the top betting preference at 18 per cent, with the British firm just ahead of BetMGM (17 per cent), FanDuel (11 per cent), Caesars Sportsbook (eight per cent), and PointsBet (seven per cent). Sportsbooks outside the top five combined to make up 40 per cent of preferred brands.

As for types of bet, one in four respondents cited moneyline bets as their favourite, ahead of point spread (15 per cent), over/under (13 per cent), live betting (12 per cent), and parlay and future bets (both five per cent). Approximately 70 per cent claimed to have won at least $1 on a bet, and only five per cent said they’d won $1,000 or more on a bet.

After DraftKings became the 18th gaming company operating in Ontario, Bichsel said he expects that number to climb, “probably double that, at least.”

“By the end of the year, we may see 40 or 50 operators,” he said. “But I think it’s way better to do things appropriately and correctly because that first rush of new customers is so valuable that if you irritate them or make things difficult, you may lose them forever.”

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