- Canada’s sports-betting laws underwent massive reform last year
- Most potential bettors in Canada are completely unaware of the sweeping legal changes
- See the results of a recent report on single-game sports betting in Canada
In August 2021, Canada’s federal ban on single-game sports betting was abolished thanks to the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act. The prohibition on single-game betting dated back to 1985 and, as a result of its long-standing nature, was widely entrenched into the national consciousness.
While the new legislation was not snuck in the proverbial backdoor, it wasn’t pronounced from on high either. In the wake of the legal changes, it’s clear that the vast majority of Canadians are unaware of their new sports-betting landscape.
Deloitte Report Indicates Canadians Unaware of New Sports-Betting Laws
Accounting firm Deloitte released a 2022 report titled “Bettor perspectives: How organizations can win in the new world of Canadian sports betting” and it contains some truly staggering statistics about the state of knowledge in the Great White North when it comes to the Canadian sports-betting legal framework.
Indeed, the first sentence in the Key Insights section of the report states, “Most Canadians don’t realize they can now bet on single-game sports.” It clarifies that exactly 19.2% of adults in the country are aware that single-game sports betting is now legal.
One area that the report fails to stress is that, while the single-game sports betting prohibition was indeed done away with, the new legal framework leaves it up to individual provinces to create and implement their own sports-betting industries. And as of now, those industries simply do not exist.
Ontario sports betting is currently scheduled to come online on April 4, 2022.
More sports betting news:
Sportsbooks in Ontario, Canada will be allowed to take wagers on April 4.
With a population of around 15 million people, it will be second-largest market by population in North America behind New York.
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) January 28, 2022
The lack of education may, in part, stem from lack of availability. In other words, while the Canadian sports-betting legal regime has changed in theory, the experience for Canadians is largely the same as it was before the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act came into force. The big-name operators like FanDuel Sportsbook and BetMGM aren’t on the scene yet.
This doesn’t mean Canadians are unable to wager on sports right now: it’s estimated that Canadians are already wagering upwards of $14 billion at offshore sportsbooks who were, at least up to this point, operating in a legal gray area by offering their services to Canadians. (The bettors themselves were not breaking any Canadian laws by using the offshore sportsbooks.)
But as individual provinces begin to create their own sports-betting markets, knowledge of the new legal landscape is sure to grow. One of the major educators in the United States is the sportsbooks themselves. As online betting was legalized so too was advertising for sports betting,
AdWeek estimated that US sportsbooks spent nearly $350 billion on advertising in 2021 alone. DraftKings Sportsbook made the first big splash with a pair of ads during the 2021 Super Bowl. During the 2022 Super Bowl, both DK and Caesars Sportsbook aired commercials, which cost $6.5 million per 30-second slot (up a full $1 million from 2021).
How Many Canadians Are Interested in Sports Betting?
One major takeaway from the Deloitte report is that the lack of knowledge is not due to a lack of interest. The report found that nearly 38% of Canadians either made a sports bet in the past year or were interested in doing so in the near future. That’s an encouraging number for sportsbooks looking to Canada as a future marketplace.
A report from the Nielsen Company in the United States in August 2021 found that 46% of Americans had “at least some interest” in sports betting. While that number appears to dwarf the Canadian number reported by Deloitte, the question was also framed slightly differently. Moreover, the Nielsen report was published when US online betting was already legal in numerous states, and online-betting commercials were becoming rampant.
Sportsbook directors will certainly be hoping that, as sports-betting education improves in Canada, the number of Canadians interested in sports betting will increase in turn. And if Canadians are anything like their neighbo(u)rs to the south, interest will indeed grow in the coming months.