As one of the most dynamic new markets to enter the scene in recent years, Canada holds a wealth of potential for sports betting and casino alike.
We sat down with Altenar’s legendary Co-founder and CCO, Dinos Stranomitis, to talk through Canada’s 2023 outlook, popularity of the World Cup and soccer-based betting, and most importantly the latest on Ontario. This one’s not to be missed! Read on to find out more …
First up, talk us through your position on the Canadian market – what’s your take on the Ontario sports betting scene almost one year in?
It’s a market we’re taking very seriously – we were one of the first (if not the first!) suppliers in the sports betting space to get a licence for the market. We have made already an agreement with two operators in Ontario, and we are now live.
I think that our position as a provider has been well established for this first year, and we’re seeing interesting trends in the market, as well as a lot of potential, which will become very clear soon enough!
With Canada’s first debut in the World Cup since 1986 – how much are we seeing soccer-based betting on the rise in Canada and how much do you see this driving interest long-term?
Canada has a very interesting football team – they’re very ambitious. Unfortunately, we’ve saw them knocked out of the group stage, despite making a valiant effort. I would like to comment that I did see the team as a little bit naïve in that they played with a lot of risk in deploying an attacking game. Which of course is visually spectacular, but as we’ve seen, has not been the best for delivering good results.
On interest – we have not seen too much from Canada’s betting audience so far in terms of soccer. The demographics that are driving interest in soccer are the younger generation only, rather than mature bettors, who take up more of the market.
However, I see in the future that Canada is investing in soccer and considering that the 2026 World Cup will be organised by the US, Mexico and Canada (with Toronto and Vancouver hosting matches), that can change. I definitely think it will be a more popular sport in comparison to what it is now – and we can expect to see more growth in years to come.
Looking to the other major North American sports – which takes the crown, can we assume NHL and NBA taking second place?
US sports are no doubt the big thing in Canada, and I would say the NFL is the most popular sport in the region from a betting perspective.
NBA would be second as there are many games being played throughout the season and then the NHL. Of course, in the mind of Canadians, hockey would be the most popular sport. However, the NFL and the NBA attracts more betting money than hockey does. After that, baseball is the fourth most popular sport in the region.
Prediction time – with 2023 already started, how do you see the market developing in the next 12 months?
I do believe that in the next 12 months we will see if the next batch of operators who applied for a licence will be awarded one or not. From what we have experienced, the KYC process is quite strict. As a consequence, this does not reward the operators in Ontario, and this will no doubt prove to be a learning process as time goes on.
However, I do believe that a regulated market is the way forward. So, no matter what, this is a positive development. The next 12 months might be a little bit too short to expect something bigger, but I do believe the market will reward the regulated operators at some point, which is the fairest outcome.