iGO report says gaming brought $1.5B to Ontario last year

The industry created over 12,000 jobs for the province

The first full day of the Canadian Gaming Summit kicked off with a bang of an announcement from iGaming Ontario. The group released a report compiled by Deloitte on the economic impact the industry has had on the province during the past year and the numbers are eye-popping.

Per the report, the industry’s economic impact amounted to C$1.54 billion, with $900 million of that coming in the form of wages. The jobs created by the industry numbered almost 12,000. Moreover, the report speculates those numbers are all on the rise. Here is a look at the ten-year projections:

“It’s having a real impact on the Canadian and Ontario economies. And we have a broad spectrum of operators but also suppliers that have joined this market,” Canadian Gaming Association CEO Paul Burns said in his opening remarks of a panel that was focused on innovation but inevitably addressed the numbers from the report.

Average Ontario gaming salary exceeds $100K

The report also noted that the average wages for workers in the igaming space amount to C$103,000, which is $30,000 more than the average salary in the province.

The high wages are, in part, tied to the specified nature of the positions, which include several STEM-related fields like product development, fraud services, and other tech-related fields. The provincial government has put emphasis on growing STEM opportunities, particularly with women and indigenous people, and the gaming industry is doing just that.

“One of the things that the Deloitte report talked about in this building upon some of the infrastructure Ontario had. The human capital, being able to leverage partnerships with other high value-add sectors, the tech innovation that’s already going on here, and obviously, being able to create the marketplace in the first place,” Burns observed.

First year generated $700M for Canadian government

That is paying dividends directly back to the Canadian government in addition to contributing to the GDP. The industry generated $761 million in revenue in year one and the report projects that number grows to almost $2.2 billion in ten years.

While some have suggested that 46 operators is too crowded for the market and consolidation is on the horizon, Burns noted in his comments that this report suggests there is room for many to succeed, and that is by design.

“Today’s report reveals that the newly regulated igaming market in Ontario is delivering real benefits to every resident of Ontario, whether they play or not,” said Dave Forestell, Chair of iGaming Ontario. “The igaming industry is a real economic driver in Ontario. Together, we can help realize our goal of leading the world’s best gaming market right here at home.”

“Over the past year, Ontario’s igaming market has been internationally recognized for creating a safe, legal, and competitive landscape while supporting the province’s economy and displacing the existing unregulated market,” added Attorney General Doug Downey. “By driving innovation, creating exciting new opportunities for workers, and providing protection and choice for players, this made-in-Ontario market will remain a global leader in this sector.”

Operators agree Ontario needs a local approach

The operators represented on the panel along with Burns echoed how vital having boots on the ground in Ontario has been for their success and also lauded the province for its talent pool.

“We felt a very strong need to put staff here. We have a Toronto office. We rely on our tech through our ownership via Entain and obviously, with the MGM side of our business,” noted BetMGM Canada CEO Scott Woodgate. “A strong part of that omnichannel perspective already existed in Canada. So, from our perspective, it was a strong need. We do have a staff of AML, customer service, and creative across pretty much every vertical and we’re very thankful for the fact that we did that right away because I think we’d be behind the eight ball if we didn’t.”

Amanda Brewer, who manages Canada for Kindred Group, summed up why operators thought it was in their best interest to set up shop locally and contribute to the economic growth in the province.

“You cannot compare the Ontario experience to anything you see in Europe and you cannot compare it to anything you see south of the border. Ontario is a very unique market. How gaming is conducted and managed, which are two words that don’t exist anywhere else in the world, is very unique to Canada.”

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