By Mark Wadie

Sports Betting Online

Market research carried out by consulting firm, Deloitte, in September 2021 and published this week, shows that more work will be needed to educate sports bettors about the opportunities to gamble provided by the new regulated market in Canada.

The study, named ‘Bettor Perspectives’ by Deloitte will be of interest to both regulators and betting operators in advance of Ontario’s regulated market launch on 4th April.

The survey was conducted over one week from September 22nd 2021 and asked questions of over 1,000 Canadians from a cross section of regions, age, sex, wealth and interest in sports betting. 


Perhaps one of the most significant findings was that only 1 in 5, or 20% of those surveyed were actually aware of the changes to the Criminal Code of Canada in August 2021 that made it legal to take bets on single sporting events. This change has been the catalyst for the regulation of the Canadian betting market.

Since the survey was carried out there has been much more publicity around regulation and each of the government-run lottery sites has added the sportsbook options to their products, including the OLG in Ontario, PlayNow in British Colombia and PlayAlberta. There has also been a huge increase in TV advertising of sports betting which will have helped raise awareness.


The purpose of Deloitte’s work was to examine awareness of sports betting opportunities in Canada amongst the public and to show how operators could engage with different groups of potential customers.

The survey identifies three groups:


These are what are referred to in mature markets like the UK as ‘high value customers’. Typically, Ardent Bettors will bet at least $1,000 per year, often with stakes of more than $50 per bet and are likely to be regularly active on sports betting sites. They account for 8.5% of the entire market of sports bettors in Canada, they are more than 50% male and under 44 years of age.

This group is of great interest to betting firms and likely to provide upwards of 30% of their entire revenue. If you are this kind of gambler you can expect a lot of attention from operators you sign up with, including VIP status.

In Deloitte’s eyes the Ardent group need a lot of attention to engage them and retain their interest in one brand. Typically, they will shop around, compare odds and look for the best value free bet deals. Information about sports, video feeds, VIP programs and fast-payouts are all attractive to these gamblers, and experienced bookmakers from Europe and the US are likely to know how to engage with them. 


The next group of bettors identified in the Deloitte study are Casual Bettors, making up 33% of the market. These gamble less frequently, with less than $50 per bet average wager and less than $1,000 per year. Whilst they are just over 50% male like the Ardent group, Casual Bettors are more likely to be of an older age group.

To engage with Casual Bettors, who are first and foremost sports fans, but ones who enjoy adding an extra level of excitement to the experience with a bet, Deloitte suggest making bets fun with novelty options and specific betting options based around a gamblers favourite sport of team.


Finally, Deloitte identify a group they refer to as Potential Bettors. These are of great interest to any betting firm entering the newly regulated provincial markets because whilst they have not placed a bet in the last 12 months they do express interest in doing so now that is legal. Typically, the Potential Bettor group have lower incomes than the other two and are middle aged and 57% female.

This group of consumers are likely to become bettors over time as awareness of Canada’s newly regulated markets grow. An increased profile for the industry through media exposure, including TV advertising, will help this process, and it is recommended that operators invest in educational material on and off their websites to help this group understand what single event sports betting is, what types of bets can be laid, and how free bet bonuses work.


How do bettors decide where they will spend their money?

  • 50% spend with a trusted brand.
  • 7% go for the fastest payouts.
  • 8% go for the best odds.

Will bettors use other gambling products online?

  • 84% of the Ardent group say they will play casino too.


Although this study was carried out more than 5 months ago and events are moving quickly it still shows a lot of work is needed in each of the provinces as new regulation make sports betting and real money casinos a legal concern. It may be that Ontario does not show the kind of numbers New York posted in its first five week of business. Instead, it will take more time to engage the potential audience in Canada. We won’t have to wait long to find out now!