The Little Vertical That Could: Ontario Online Poker Shines in Q2

It may be the smallest vertical, but online poker wagers and revenue grew at higher rates than online casino gaming or sports betting.
Digital dollar sign icon. The Little Vertical That Could: Ontario Online Poker Shines in Q2
October 12, 2023

Last summer, when regulators in Ontario provided their first-ever breakdown of wagers and revenue from iGaming, online poker was expected to be by far the smallest vertical by both metrics.

That was right — according to iGaming Ontario (iGO), online poker accounted for just 2.5% of wagers and 2.75% of revenue during Q1 2023, which ended on June 30.

With the number of operators for online casino and sports betting in the double digits, it was also expected that the two verticals would outperform online poker in Q2, which by comparison includes six operators across four networks.

Turns out, that was wrong — Ontario online poker saw higher growth rates for wagers (13.4%) and revenue (6.7%) during the second quarter than online casino and sports betting, data from iGO show.

Wagers Up Overall from Q1

Ontario’s online poker rooms handled CAD $397 million (USD $292.1 million) in wagers during Q2, which ended on September 30. That’s up from the CAD $350 million in wagers that online poker handled during the preceding quarter.

Poker accounted for about 2.8% of overall wagers, which totaled CAD $14.2 billion (USD $10.4 billion) in Q2.

Online casino gaming accounted for nearly 84% of wagers in Q2, according to data from iGO. Online casinos in Ontario made CAD $11.9 billion (USD $8.8 billion) in Q2, up 2.6% from the first quarter (CAD $11.6 billion).

The remaining 13.4% of wagers were made at Ontario’s online sportsbooks. Sports betting operators accepted CAD $1.9 billion (USD $1.4 billion) in wagers during the second quarter, down 5% from Q1 (CAD $2 billion).

Wagers overall — meaning from online poker, casino gaming, and sports betting — increased 1.4% from the preceding quarter (CAD $14 billion).

Less Revenue Overall in Q2

Online casinos in Ontario performed well but didn’t grow as much as the online poker vertical did. And while we’ll never know if PokerStars, BetMGM, partypoker, or another operator had the top online poker room in Q2, the figures from iGO reveal many other details about the province’s regulated marketplace for iGaming.

Case in point: Overall revenue was down 0.9% and hit CAD $540 million (USD $397.4 million) in Q2, compared with CAD $545 million in Q1. More than 75% of revenue in Q2 was from online casino gaming, which grossed CAD $407 million (USD $299.5 million), up 3.8% from Q1 (CAD $392 million).

Roughly 3% of revenue in Q2 was from online poker. Ontario’s six online poker rooms grossed CAD $16 million (USD $11.8 million) in the second quarter, up 6.7% from the preceding quarter (CAD $15 million).

Revenue from online sports betting was down 14.5% from the preceding quarter. Sportsbooks made CAD $118 million (USD $86.8 million) in the second quarter, but they generated CAD $138 million in revenue in Q1.

iGO declined to comment on any observations made during Q2. “As part of its commitment to sharing aggregate revenue and market insight reports, iGO intends to continue releasing, at minimum, a market report on a quarterly basis.,” the regulator said Wednesday.

iGO reported tracking 71 gaming websites in Q2 — a number unchanged from Q1. The regulator added an operator during the most recent quarter and is now tracking 47.

That’s a far cry from April 2022, the opening month for online poker, casino gaming, and sports betting in Ontario. At the time, the province had 18 operators and 31 gaming websites to keep track of.

The regulator reported that there were 943,000 active player accounts in Q2, up 2.5% from the preceding quarter (920,000 accounts). iGO reported that the average monthly was $191 in Q2, down from $197 in the first quarter.

Note: A rate of CAD $1 = USD 73.5 cents was used for monetary conversion purposes.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500

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