Ontario’s online gambling revenue up one-quarter in 2017-18


ontario-lottery-gaming-online-gambling-revenueOntario’s provincial gambling monopoly reported its online gambling revenue rising by one-quarter in its most recent fiscal year, although it still has miles to go to challenge its provincial rivals.

On Thursday, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) issued its annual report for the 12 months ending March 31, 2018, during which the Crown corporation reported revenue of C$7.58b (US$5.8b), a 5.6% improvement over fiscal 2016-17’s result, while net income improved 5.3% to C$2.49b.

The overwhelming bulk of OLG’s 2017-18 revenue came via its lottery operations (C$3.78b, +2.7%) and land-based gaming (C$3.55b, -0.8%), which consists of four ‘resort casinos’ and 21 smaller casinos and slots halls operated either by OLG or its service providers. Charitable gaming revenue rose 12.4% to C$172m.

The lottery division was the only vertical to report a drop in net income, falling 1% to C$1.07b, primarily due to marketing costs for new products like Hit Or Miss. Land-based gaming brought in net income of C$1.49b (+7.6%), thanks mainly to one-off gains from the transfer of assets in awarding regional casino bundle service provider contracts.

PlayOLG, the online gambling site that OLG launched in January 2015, reported revenue of just under C$73.1m, up 25.2% from the previous year’s result, while online net income rose 37.3% to C$37.6m thanks to lower operating costs, in particular regulatory fees and indirect service provider fees.

PlayOLG still has a long way to go to catch up to its provincial rivals. British Columbia’s PlayNow site reported revenue of C$180.6m in its most recent annual report, while Loto-Quebec’s last report card showed an annual take of C$118m for its Espacejeux site.

Focusing on the positive, PlayOLG’s active player base shot up 23.6% year-on-year, which OLG credited to the launch of its PlayOLG Casino mobile app in May 2017, a new Pro•Line parlay sports betting app in September 2017, the addition of online lottery subscriptions this January, a wider portfolio of casino games plus a new focus on player acquisition and promotions to encourage land-based customers to visit the site.

In September, OLG tapped UK B2B gaming technology provider Bede Gaming to supply its “new enterprise-wide digital foundation.” OLG also currently has requests for proposals in market regarding an “enhanced and expanded sports betting offering” for both web, mobile and retail channels.