With the first regulated gaming market opening up to non-monopoly operators in a province with about 40% of Canada’s population, Ontario was always going to be an attractive prospect. Geoffrey Smorong provides bimonthly opening analytics for iGB Affiliate
On April 4, the first Canadian province went live with a regulated gaming market for private operators, as Ontario officially opened its doors to non-governmental online casinos and sportsbooks.
Ontario has a population of approximately 15 million, making it one of the largest new North American markets for regulated online gaming. According to VIXIO, the Ontario iGaming market will be a large one financially as it is expected to generate gross revenue of CA$989 million by the end of this year and CA$1.86 billion by 2026.
A few months have passed and this is an ideal time to evaluate how the launch of the expanded igaming market in Ontario has gone so far.
The Ontario igaming market has seen significant engagement so far, with 15 operators across 24 different brands licensed by the provincial regulator, iGaming Ontario (iGO) and the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO). In addition, according to a recent panel application by GBG with iGO members, there are more than 70 operators seeking licenses. The regulator also announced that it will not limit the number of licenses.
With all the enthusiasm surrounding the market, many major US operators have expanded their affiliate marketing programs to Ontario after the AGCO and iGO regulations came into effect. This includes big brands like FanDuel, PointsBet, DraftKings, Caesars Interactive and Bet365, among others.
Additionally, the provincial lottery, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) (and before April, the only regulated Ontario iGaming operator), recently launched its affiliate program in the province, making it the first provincial lottery to launch an affiliate channel. Canada. These are exciting developments for affiliates as more operators move into this space and consequently offer them many avenues to pursue new partnerships – and significant revenue opportunities.
As with any new market that opens, it is crucial to understand the regulations put in place to avoid unnecessary trouble. Both operators and affiliates cannot market in Michigan the way they can be just a few miles south.
According to AGCO, while Ontario allows the promotion of gaming products, “advertising and marketing materials that transmit gambling incentives, bonuses and credits on players’ gambling sites and through direct advertising and marketing are prohibited after active player approval. ” There are other rules as well, but this poses a significant challenge compared to the market in, for example, New York, where operators and affiliates can promote this type of offer.
There have already been several instances where AGCO has fined for alleged advertising and incentive violations. Many brands have already been fined over C$30,000.
Another big difference in Ontario is that operators take responsibility when it comes to advertising, so affiliates need to make sure they create marketing materials within the guidelines offered by AGCO.
We spoke with Anton Hedlund, Account Manager at Compary, an affiliate that has moved to Ontario to help gamers make smarter decisions through data, to see how this differentiation impacts both affiliates and carriers. “We have not seen any complaints from brands that want to enter this market. Everyone understands the situation and understands that affiliates and operators must comply with regulations together.”
With no limits on the number of operators that can be licensed and an exciting new market of users to connect with, this is an ideal time to become an affiliate based in Ontario. Additional carriers will likely go live in the coming months, giving affiliates a great opportunity to connect with new brands and deliver the best possible content to their audiences.
Regulations are a big part of the conversation surrounding Ontario in the igaming market, but there is a positive side affiliates should consider focusing on. According to Hedlund, although relatively strict marketing rules can challenge affiliates: “[I]It also helps ensure responsible gaming practices and secure payment to protect users.”
Ad compliance obligation alongside operators in Ontario reduces the burden on affiliates. However, affiliates need to ensure that they follow regulations very closely to maintain productive relationships with operators. While operators assume the risk, they will want to work with affiliates whose marketing strategies are waterproof from a regulatory perspective.
On the other hand, one of the challenges faced by affiliates relates to know-your-customer (KYC) controls that make it difficult for customers to enjoy a seamless registration and registration process with a brand.
Hedlund observed: “We’ve heard from players about the KYC policy. Even if it is there to protect the players, it causes some headaches as they have to give all their information to an operator.”
“Overall, users want to interact with a product quickly and efficiently. As the KYC policy slowed the process down a bit and some players didn’t want to include all their information, we found that some operators did not convert among others with a simpler registration.”
As Ontario makes up around 40% of the total Canadian population, it was supposed to be an attractive market for operators and affiliates. A few months later, the race to connect with this huge audience continues. Operators are flocking, and it presents a huge opportunity for affiliates. By following the rules outlined by the state game regulator, building strong relationships with operators, and highlighting the positive aspects of the expanding Ontario gaming market, affiliates will ensure that they take full advantage of this booming space.
Geoffrey Smorong is Paysafe’s VP of Revenue Access Operations. A driven leader with 10 years of experience in Gaming and Partner Management, he has been a significant contributor to Revenue Access since 2012, when he started as an Account Manager with the team.
Don’t miss our Ontario focused sessions on Day 1 of iGB Live next month! The event in Amsterdam. At 12:50 on July 6, a panel of experts will explore how operators and affiliates apply lessons learned in other bonus-restricted markets, followed by a 2:20 p.m. presentation offering actionable insights based on research from leading digital marketing agency Receptional. . The early days of the sports betting market. You can find more information about the program here and register here.