Sports betting fumbled start to cost Ontario Super Bowl payout

This Super Bowl Sunday, Ontario is in what sports bettors would call a “bad beat.”

The provincial government will lose an estimated $1.5 million in tax revenue because Premier Doug Ford’s government was unable to launch its regulated sports betting market in time for players’ favorite day of the year.

The federal government this summer repealed the final laws banning joint sports betting by passing Bill C-218. The legislation removed parts of the Criminal Code that prohibited betting on single sporting outcomes – the easiest and most popular way to bet on any game or event. C-218 also gave provinces and territories the power to license companies that offer such wagers.

As C-218 approached the legislative finish line, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario began building the province’s first regulated online sports betting market.

The laws removed by Bill C-218 were rarely enforced, and Canadians for decades bypassed legal and more restrictive markets (like PROLINE, the platform of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.) to bet billions of dollars every year on unregulated and untaxed websites. and apps.

It is expected that many of these “grey market” sportsbooks will apply to operate in Ontario’s regulated market once it is launched.

iGaming Ontario, a new provincial agency, hoped to launch the province’s marketplace before the end of 2021, but bureaucratic delays held it back, industry sources told the Toronto Star in December.

On January 28, iGaming Ontario announced that its marketplace would launch on April 4.

Estimates of how much Ontarians will bet using regulated apps and sites vary. As a result, estimates of how much the province will collect in taxes also vary.

Canadians bet $14 billion on sports every year through unregulated platforms, according to the Canadian Gaming Association.

Deloitte predicts that, five years after the ban on single-event sports betting was lifted, Canadians will bet $28 billion on sports in one year.

PlayCanada, a gambling news and information site, estimates that more than $20 billion will be wagered legally in Canada once provincially regulated markets expand. Based on the betting habits of Ontarians and the proportion of the population they represent, PlayCanada believes that half of all bets in Canada will come from Ontario.

In any given year, one to two percent of the total money wagered in the United States is on the Super Bowl. PlayCanada released numbers for iPolitics and, assuming Ontarians’ Super Bowl betting habits are similar to those of Americans, and sportsbooks collect the average “take” (sports betting winnings) from a game of the NFL – 7.5% of all bets placed – then these companies will reap $7.5 million in profits from Ontarians on Sunday.

Ontario’s tax on sports betting profits has yet to be confirmed, but is expected to be 20%.

Based on sports betting profits and the projected tax rate, the government would have taken in $1.5 million on Sunday if the market had been activated.

Instead, it flopped — much like Kevin Dyson of the Tennessee Titans and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.

Some Ontarians will be betting via PROLINE – the revenue from which goes directly to the government – ​​on Sunday, but past patterns suggest bettors will stick with their trusted “grey market” bookmakers until they are regulated. (iPolitics left Ontario Lottery and Gaming media relations staff with a message asking how many bets it expects to collect on Sunday, but did not receive a response as of press time.)

Ontario is still on track to become the first province to implement a private online marketplace for sports players.

iPolitics asked Ford’s office if, as a football fan, the Premier was disappointed that the Ontario market didn’t come online in time for the Super Bowl, but did not receive a response at the time. of publishing.

Ford’s football fandom is shared by his family. He and his late brother Rob played football.

Rob coached Don Bosco Catholic High School when he was Mayor of Toronto. He led the team to a provincial title game before being ousted in his political downfall. The Ford brothers also tried to lure an NFL team to Toronto when they served on its board.

For a short time, the Prime Minister’s eldest daughter, Krista, captained the now-defunct Toronto side of the Lingerie Football League.

iPolitics also asked the Prime Minister’s Office how Ford plans to spend Super Bowl Sunday and which team he will be supporting, but those questions also went unanswered.

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