Assessing Canadians’ legal betting habits

Newly released data from Ipsos has found that nearly two months after the Ontario government launched a regulated online gambling market, Ontarians and Canadians are betting online more than ever, with 30 per cent saying they are registered on at least one legal website that offers online betting.

The Atlantic Canada region has the highest proportion of Canadian adults registered to play, at 41 per cent. British Columbia and Ontario are tied at 33 per cent, followed by Quebec at 26 per cent, Alberta at 24 per cent, and Manitoba/Saskatchewan at 22 per cent. The average Canadian who gambles online is registered with three or four websites, with 3.6 the national average. Again, Atlantic Canada leads the country on the number of websites used, at an average of 4.7, while Manitoba/Saskatchewan are the lowest at 2.7.

The data also found that, based on responses from 2,001 Canadians aged 18+, the percentage of Ontarians who have signed up with private gambling operators is nearly equal to the percentage who have registered with (25 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively), despite the private regulated market having only been open for six weeks at the time of the survey, which was conducted May 10-13.

This trend holds true across the country in almost every region except Quebec, where the platform has a slight lead over non-government platforms with 23 per cent registration vs. 21 per cent.

When it comes to dollars and cents, Canadian online gamblers tend to favour private operator sites. Around 44 per cent of betting spending goes to one of the provincial government sites, while the rest (56 per cent) goes to private operator platforms. The biggest gap is in the prairies, where gamblers report giving just over 30 per cent of their gambling dollars to provincial government sites. Alberta and Manitoba were some of the last provinces in the country to offer government-built online gambling platforms, while Saskatchewan has yet to launch one at all.

In contrast, Ontario reportedly has 43 per cent of its gambling spend going to, while Atlantic Canada has 44 per cent going to Quebec is the only province where the government site is favoured over the competition, with 57 per cent of spending going to

The Ipsos report notes that as more Canadians become aware of Ontario’s regulated market situation and are further exposed to private-operator advertising, those figures may change.

At the time of this survey, only one-quarter (26 per cent) said they are aware of the Ontario market changes, compared to 41 per cent of Ontarians. More than one-third (37 per cent) of those who were aware of the market shift said they are likely to do some online gambling in the next few months; much more than Canadians who aren’t aware of Ontario’s situation (14 per cent).

Ipsos also asked the 30 per cent of respondents who identified as registered online gamblers in Canada to compare provincially government-run sites with private operator sites on a host of factors, and found the following:

The site is trustworthy The site offers the best odds & payouts The site offers a wide range of bets The site has a user-friendly experience The site is easy to sign up and start betting
Government-owned sites are better 37% 21% 23% 23% 25%
Privately operated sites are better 24% 36% 30% 28% 27%
Both are about the same 39% 43% 47% 49% 48%


Source: Ipsos
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