Ontarians Prioritize NBA Wagering During Stanley Cup Finals

A year after the introduction of Ontario’s online gambling and sports betting market, many were surprised that the NBA was the most wagered-on sport instead of hockey. However, recent reports further confirmed this, as local sports bettors put more wagers on the NBA than on the Stanley Cup finals. But this could be due to a lack of Canadian teams in it.

In its first year of iGaming, Ontario saw most of the online bets go towards the NBA as it accounted for 29% of the total betting volume. Soccer was in second with 15% of the handle, followed by football with 13%. Hockey was in fourth with 9% of the total wagers. This applied to the period of April 4, 2022, through March 31, 2023.

NHL Still Behind in Terms of Volume

There is no official data released from iGaming Ontario yet, but the trend of the NBA dominating the bettors’ choice seems to continue during the Stanley Cup Finals featuring the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights. Currently, wagering on the NHL championship series is about 20% behind the volume put on the NBA Finals, said Canadian bookmaker’s head of trading operations, Phill Gray.

This betting activity could come as a little bit of bad news for NHL leaders who relied on regulated sports betting to give the league a boost. Like many other pro leagues, the NHL was hopeful that betting would be a way to attract more fans to its brand, as there are not many things that will keep someone watching a sporting event like having money placed on it.

However, it should be noted that the volume of NHL betting among players is still higher in Ontario than in most states and provinces. A while back, BetMGM said that the province is the #1 most-bet market for the NHL, placing it ahead of Michigan and Massachusetts. The operator also said betting on the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Ontario has increased year-over-year.

Still, one sportsbook saw some serious betting volume on NHL games which outperformed the NBA. Last month, FanDuel reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs Game 6 win versus the Tampa Bay Lightning was its most preferred event for active users for the night and that this trend resumed through the third game of Toronto’s series with Florida.

iGaming Sector is a Cause of Concern

But with the increase in sports betting popularity, gambling specialists are getting worried and warned about a potential match-fixing issue in the province. Professor Richard McLaren said the province must prepare for a potential match-fixing issue while noting that the problem is still in its early stages. This is due to the lack of exact laws to tackle such activities.

In addition to that, the local iGaming market has also been the point of scrutiny as it caused an influx of sports betting ads during games. That is why John Fraser, interim leader for the Ontario Liberal Party, shared that the party tabled a motion in the provincial assembly urging the local government to implement a new approach to review the risks of heavy advertising across the province.

BY: 에볼루션 바카라사이

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