VSO Exclusive: Ontario Likely to Become One of North America’s Biggest Betting Markets, Says Kambi Exec

  • Robertson believes the size of Ontario and appetite for betting will contribute to its success
  • She has drawn attention to Kambi’s hockey offering, which includes 150 pre-game markets
  • Kambi is keeping its eye on other Canadian provinces for expansion, according to the exec
  • Although Canada provides opportunities, Robertson doesn’t think it will rival the US market
Sarah Robertson
Kambi SVP of Sales Sarah Robertson (pictured above) has spoken with VSO News about the firm’s expansion into Ontario, providing some predictions for the newly regulated sports betting market. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

An exciting new market

On Monday this week, Ontario made history by launching its commercial sports betting and iGaming market. It represents the first Canadian province to go live with an open single-event wagering market since the vertical’s legalization in July last year.

Europe-based gaming supplier Kambi Group has already joined a string of other operators and providers by launching its products in the new market. VegasSlotsOnline News sat down with the firm’s Senior Vice President of Sales Sarah Robertson to discuss her thoughts on the province’s potential.

What are your expectations for Ontario’s sports betting market?

Regulated sports betting in Ontario presents a significant opportunity as it is the most populated province in the country with approximately 15 million people. Furthermore, Ontario’s capital city Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America only behind Mexico City, New York, and Los Angeles. In light of this, Ontario is likely to become one of the biggest sports betting markets not just in Canada, but in the whole of North America.

Canadians aren’t entirely new to sports betting”

It’s also important to note that legal sports wagering has been available to Canadians for decades, but was limited to parlay bets through provincial lotteries. So, between their exposure to parlay bets as well as offshore sportsbooks, Canadians aren’t entirely new to sports betting.

According to the Canadian Gaming Association, of which Kambi is a proud member, residents bet approximately CA$500m (US$397.2m) on regulated parlays annually. These estimates tell us that there is a healthy appetite for betting among consumers in the country, and VIXIO GamblingCompliance predicts Ontario will generate gross revenues of CA$989m (US$785.8m) in its first year of opening, growing to CA$1.86bn (US$1.48bn) by 2026.

Will you cater your sports betting product to Canadian customers in any way?

We believe we have a very strong product for Canadian customers. Canada is considered the birthplace of hockey, which is by far the country’s number one sport when it comes to fan following. As a company with Scandinavian heritage, Kambi has a deep hockey offer and we have built a robust product that includes more than 150 pre-game markets. Bettors will also be able to build their own in-event and multi-event parlay bets with our Game Parlay product.

Does the Ontario market throw up any regulatory challenges that others might not?

We have built our platform with the capability to rapidly pivot to meet any local requirements. Kambi is live with 40 operators across more than 40 jurisdictions all over the world, and our expertise in matters of regulation and compliance has been key to our success.

a clear indication of the flexibility of our platform”

That we were one of only a few sportsbook providers ready to go live with our partners on day one of the Ontario market opening up is a clear indication of the flexibility of our platform on a technical and compliance level – a strength that we will look to effectively leverage as more provinces throughout Canada regulate single-event sports betting.

Do you have your eye on expansion into any other areas of Canada?

We’re consistently keeping up to date with developing regulations when it comes to expansion. Ontario’s performance should be a good indicator of how fast we’ll see other provinces legalize the vertical, and we’ll be ready to take the appropriate steps when necessary.

Kambi has a long history of market-first launches thanks to our expertise in regulation and compliance – powering the first legal wagers in US states including New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan – and we’ll be prepared to continue that trend.

Do you think Kambi’s Canadian operations could ultimately rival its US business?

The US has established itself as a sports betting juggernaut and regulations in the country are more advanced than in Canada, so it is hard to see it overtaking the US business anytime soon. And while Ontario is a highly populous province, the population of Canada as a whole is a fraction of that of the US.

plenty of exciting opportunities”

Having said that, we do believe that there are plenty of exciting opportunities for our Canada-facing partners with several sizeable provinces not yet regulated, and we are confident that the overall strength of our product, particularly our hockey and Game Parlay products, will gain real traction with Canadian players.