Bill C-218 may be one of the most consequential Canadian laws of recent years that you may not know about. But you would not be alone. Most people in the country are as yet ignorant about this. But that is why we are here.
This law, or rather amendment to an existing law, legalized single-event sports betting in the country. It passed both houses of the Canadian parliament and received royal assent on June 29, 2021.
Bill C-218 can change all of that. The Deloitte study shows that $28 billion could be added to the legal Canadian iGaming industry over 5 years. But Canadians are woefully unaware of the new possibilities.
Canadians Need to Be Informed About Sports Betting
The same study found that only 1 out of every 5 Canadians was aware that single-event wagering has become legal in the country. The researchers conducted an online survey composed of 1,000 people from across all demographic categories and found this to be the case.
But they also found that a large proportion of people actually showed interest in sports betting. More than a third of all respondents said that they would be interested in online betting.
Moreover, those who seemed disinterested said that their biggest concern was the lack of available information about how betting works.
The study categorized respondents in 3 ways – ardent bettors, casual bettors, and potential bettors. The results showed that less than a tenth of potential bettors said they are likely to place bets in legal sportsbooks (see the list of best legal betting site in Ontario).
The numbers are higher but not especially impressive when it comes to ardent bettors and casual bettors either. Just over half of the ardent bettors surveyed said they were likely to start betting soon. While a bit less than a third of casual bettors said the same.
Hence, it is quite clear that more education and awareness campaigns are needed before the potential gains from legalized betting can be realized.
Who Should Be Responsible for Driving Awareness?
This needs to be undertaken by the provinces, first and foremost, because the law actually gives them the regulatory authority to run sports betting as they see fit. The media, provincial lotteries, private sportsbooks, etc. all have a role to play in this as well.
If educational initiatives are not taken, it will be hard to make the iGaming sector grow to the levels currently being estimated. This much is also clear from the Deloitte study.
Legal online sportsbooks can play a huge role in pulling these numbers up. Brands can emerge as trusted names in the industry by educating and driving awareness. While at the same time introducing new people to the world of sports betting and growing the sector.
According to the study, the trustworthiness of a brand is one of the most important factors bettors look at when choosing a sportsbook. Over half the respondents in the Deloitte study reported it as the most important factor in their decision.
Furthermore, around half of respondents across all 3 categories said that they intend to conduct around half their sports betting online. Only a small percentage of their intended betting activity would take place through casinos and retail sportsbooks, they said.
In addition, the study suggests that the legalization of sports betting is likely to drive interest in sports generally. This could be in the form of increased demand for sports news, statistics, sports broadcasts, etc.
Most respondents in the Deloitte study suggested that they would love partnerships between sportsbooks and sports companies. This includes partnerships with venues, leagues, etc.
Therefore, sports companies and media companies have a great role to play in the promotion of sports betting in a fun, legal, and safe environment.
But most important of all will be the attitude of the provincial governments. Many of them, such as Ontario, have taken a proactive approach to drive awareness and implement changes quickly. Others need to follow suit as it can lead to sustained economic growth.
Furthermore, a vast majority of respondents in the study suggested that they would be interested in online casino games. Perhaps that is an indication for the next step in the rise of Canadian iGaming.