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Ontario online gambling revenues on the rise

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) launched its online gambling service PlayOLG in early 2015, and the latest fiscal year figures available from the Corporation were released this week, showing that in fiscal 2016-2017 revenues had already improved by 25.2 percent to Cdn$ 73.1 million, with income up 37.3 percent to Cdn 37.6 million.

Whilst encouraging, the online division of OLG still lags the Corporation’s returns from land-based lotteries, casinos and slot halls; overall OLG revenues in the reporting period ended March 2018 reached Cdn$ 7.58 billion – up 5.6 percent year-on-year, with net income of Cdn$ 2.49illion – up 5.3 percent.

The big money for the Corporation continued to be delivered by lottery activity (revenue of Cdn$ 3.78 billion – a rise of 2.7 percent) and land-based gambling outlets (revenue up 0.8 percent at Cdn$ 3.55 billion), and even the charitable gaming division saw revenues up 12.4 percent to Cdn$ 172 million, showing that there is ample space for improvement in the online environment.

Ontario's online business also has some catching up to do on the online ventures of other Canadian provinces like PlayNow operated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and Quebec's Espacejeux run by Loto-Quebec; those online operations respectively  generated Cdn$ 180.6 million and Cdn$ 118 million in revenues according to their latest financial reportage.

The potential is there for Ontario, which has a large population clearly interested in online gambling, judging by the 23.6 percent rise in active players recorded in fiscal 2016-2017.

The OLG report details several initiatives planned or already running which are aimed at improving the quality and choice of the online offering, and the manner in which it is marketed and communicated to the Ontario public.

Importantly, the Corporation has seen the potential for more online and retail sports betting and has invited proposals.

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