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What Is iGaming? Everything You Need to Know

Mitchell South

by Mitchell South

Updated Nov 13, 2023 · 12:18 PM PST

You’ve probably heard the term “iGaming” used a lot as regulated sports betting sweeps across North America. Mobile wagering is expanding in the US as new states go online, and more private sportsbooks are arriving onto the Canada sports betting market on April 4, 2022, as the province of Ontario launches iGaming.

The convenience of iGaming has made it far more popular than in-person wagering at brick-and mortar casinos. With US states like New York and Louisiana recently launching online sports betting, iGaming revenue figures are reaching new records each month. One of the biggest players in sports media ESPN is getting into iGaming and sports betting in 2023. New users can sign up with an ESPN Bet bonus now!

Still, the iGaming term can cause confusion despite its growing popularity. Does iGaming strictly refer to online casinos? Is it exclusive to mobile sports betting? Or is it an umbrella term for all kinds of wagering over an Internet connection?

Here’s everything you need to know about iGaming. Use the quick links below to jump to a particular section.

What Is iGaming?

Simply put, iGaming is any kind of online betting that wagers on the future outcome of a game or event. Sports betting, online casinos, poker, and eSports all fall under the iGaming definition.

The online gambling market is worth an estimated $66.7 billion per year when you factor in every available market. As more US states launch iGaming and Canada launches their own market, this figure will continue to grow significantly for years to come.

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The availability of iGaming varies in all regions, ranging from restricted to regulated. Geolocation technology is used to ensure a bettor is wagering from a territory where iGaming is legal and available.

Let’s go through the current state of iGaming and point out some notable locations where it’s available.

The Current State of iGaming

The legality of iGaming has different timelines around the world, and countries like Canada and the United States are some of the most recent to establish iGaming markets.

Even though iGaming is defined as any kind of online betting, that doesn’t mean every country allows the same legal betting options in all regions. The launch of iGaming casinos as opposed to something like mobile sports betting is staggered in some places and simultaneous in others.

For instance, legal online sports betting has only been available in certain US states as of 2018. Compare that to countries like the United Kingdom, where off-course betting has been legal since 1960, with revamped laws in 2005 regulating online sports betting, casinos, and poker sites.

To make things simple, iGaming is currently legal in some form or another in these countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United States
  • United Kingdom

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it will give you an idea of where iGaming is available in some capacity.

Not every US state has legal online wagering, and the privately-operated Ontario iGaming market is just getting underway in Canada as of April 4, 2022. Again, this is just a high-level overview of the current state of iGaming, as rules and regulations vary greatly in every country.

Looking at key events in the history of iGaming might help provide you with a betting understanding of this catch-all term for online betting.

History of iGaming

Examining major developments in the history of iGaming is a good idea while we’re looking at a high-level overview. Check out this timeline of iGaming’s history:

iGaming history timeline key events

  • 1994: The first online iGaming website is launched with ticketing for the Liechtenstein International Lottery in October of 1994.
  • 1996: The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is established in Canada, regulating all gaming activity on Kahnawake Mohawk Territory despite the governments of Quebec and Canada not recognizing their efforts.
  • 2000: The iGaming industry surpasses $2 billion in revenue. The overall market is forecasted to be worth over $70 billion per year by 2023.
  • 2003: The 888.com online casino website is launched, and ten years later it would become the first exclusively online casino to be licensed in the US.
  • 2018: The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is repealed by the United States Supreme Court, paving the way for online US sports betting.

As mentioned earlier, the availability of iGaming has different timelines depending on what country you’re looking at. Some places like the UK have had all forms of iGaming software providers for a long time, while certain components of it are just starting to emerge in the US and Canada.

Remember, iGaming is any form of online wagering—and that definition hasn’t changed since its inception in 1994.

Future of iGaming

Now that we have a high-level understanding of the iGaming business, we can look closer at the details of where this industry might be heading.

If you’re looking for more details on a definition of legal iGaming and the history of this subject in the US, the Definitive Guide to iGaming in the United States whitepaper from Ifrah Law is a comprehensive resource.

Sports Betting Dime spoke with the team at Ifrah Law to get a better understanding of what iGaming is and where its future is headed.

Sara Dalsheim is an Associate at Ifrah Law. Navigating regulatory and licensing issues, she has a front row seat in watching how online sports betting evolves across America.

Here’s what she had to say in response to our questions about iGaming:

What is iGaming and how will it evolve in the coming years?

Dalsheim: General iGaming is simply betting that takes place online. Although, today, mobile sports betting has become its on category of interactive wagering and iGaming generally encompasses online casino games and other skill-based games.

How does online sports betting relate to iGaming? Are they effectively the same?

Dalsheim: Technically online sports betting is a form of iGaming. However, given the distinction mentioned above mobile sports betting has been made into its own category of online betting. Some states in which sports wagering and online casino gaming is legal offer different licensing for each category by having one set of licensures for sports wagering and another for iGaming.

The Paysafe iGaming payment platform recently entered the emerging New York sports betting market. What are your thoughts on this expansion, and what does the future hold for iGaming platforms?

Dalsheim: I think its great. My hope is that this will bring on other reputable payment processing companies into the market. The more reliable and reputable payment platforms there are in the iGaming industry the easier it will be to have a safer wagering environment.

Legal iGaming is still in its early stages across North America and in many other parts of the world. Offshore betting sites that avoided regulation have been available for a longer period, however they are quickly declining in popularity.

One thing is for certain: the iGaming market size is only going to get larger as time goes on.

One of the most popular types of iGaming is online sports betting, and this industry is expanding rapidly in the US and Canada. Let’s quickly look at what 2022 could hold for online sports betting across North America.

Sports Betting in the American iGaming Market

The United States continues to launch online sports betting in new regions on a regular basis. The expansion of iGaming in the US sports betting market will see these new states go live with online sportsbooks later in 2022:

Things can change quickly, so make sure you stay tuned to Sports Betting Dime for all the latest updates on the US sports betting market.

Sports Betting in the Canadian iGaming Market

The Canadian iGaming landscape is shifting rapidly, and the province of Ontario is set to take a huge step forward when they launch the private iGaming market on April 4, 2022.

This new market is being regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and iGaming Ontario (iGO), two regulatory bodies who will pave the way for privately-owned online sports betting platforms.

Single-game sports betting has long been outlawed in Canada, but that all changed in 2021 when the federal government replaced a system that only allowed for parlay bets. As of April 4, the Ontario sports betting market will open fully to online sports betting sites such as the following:

Canada Sportsbook Apps Anticipated Launch Date
FanDuel Sportsbook Canada April 4, 2022
DraftKings Sportsbook Canada April 4, 2022
BetMGM Canada April 4, 2022
Caesars Sportsbook Canada April 4, 2022
theScore Bet Canada April 4, 2022
PointsBet Canada April 4, 2022
BetRivers Canada April 4, 2022
Hard Rock Canada April 4, 2022

These sportsbooks are expected to launch in Ontario first, as Canada’s most populous province is opening the iGaming market to multiple operators, with approximately 30 applications under consideration. The sports betting licensing fee in Ontario is $100,000, and Ontario sportsbooks will pay a 20 percent tax rate. This is remarkably low by iGaming standards, which will create a free-for-all in terms of overall market share amongst the numerous operators.

Outside of Ontario, legal online single-game sports betting is expanding across Canada quickly. These sports betting sites are expected to become available in other provinces like Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec as more provinces launch new iGaming markets.

To be clear, whether it’s Canada, the US, or anywhere else in the world, iGaming is defined as any kind of online wagering.

iGaming FAQs

A lot has been covered in this guide, so let’s quickly break down the FAQs one more time:

What is iGaming?

iGaming is any form of online wagering where the player bets on the outcome of a game or event. This includes activities like sports betting, casino games, poker, and eSports for example.

Is iGaming legal?

The legality of iGaming depends entirely on the jurisdiction. Various forms of iGaming are legal in parts of the United States, Canada, the UK, and numerous other countries.

What are iGaming companies?

Speaking generally, iGaming companies are any regulatory bodies or privately-owned operators that deal in the business of online wagering. Examples of regulatory bodies includes iGaming Ontario, while privately-owned operators would refer to sites like DraftKings Canada or FanDuel Canada.

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