UNITED STATES—As online gaming for real money sees unprecedented global competition, mature markets have largely chosen to regulate and license operators as a means of maintaining control over the domestic market. Canada is the latest developed country to post record numbers of legal online gamblers.

New Ontario Regulation Changes the Game in Canada, Survey Shows

Canada’s legal gambling market has received a boost after the State of Ontario regulated online gaming for money. Merely two months after the new legislation entered into force, about 33% of Ontario residents have reported to have registration with at least one gambling website. The same is true for 30% of all Canadians, a study has found.

The online poll was conducted by Ipsos, a global market research consultancy, among adult Canadians in mid-May. It confirms that across all States online gamers have taken up legitimate gambling channels licensed by the government soon after surrendering government monopoly in the sector. More importantly, they enjoy the transparency of a regulated market, preferring it in most cases over grey-area offshore platforms.

The Canadian market is now saturated with advertisements and promotional offers for the likes of legal sports betting, casinos and online roulette. Legitimate competition raises the quality, lowers prices and encourages online players to open accounts at various gaming platforms.

The region of Atlantic Canada has the highest share of player registrations (41%), followed by adults in British Columbia and Ontario, both at 33%. The provincial government of the latter (OLG) realized the potential of deflecting offshore accounts to locally registered operators, leading to private gaming services being even more popular than the OLG.ca website – 25% and 23% respectively.

The typical Canadian online gambler is said to have between 3 and 4 registrations with competing providers (3.6 profiles being the national average). Most of the money spent goes to private gaming operators (56%) while 44% of real-money game spending is channeled towards provincial government sites.

Market experts point out that as the Canadian market becomes more exposed to advertising and improved promotions, many of these figures will inevitably change, likely in favor of the more competitive private sector.

Online Gambling Shares around the World

Mature gambling markets have proven the need to establish a national regulation framework or at least a mechanism to allow all domestic players to access legitimate real-money games.

Americans, for example, are famous for being regular gamblers. Industry figures show that 85 percent of US adults have tried gambling at least once in their lives and 60 percent within the last year alone. In the spirit of liberalization, they have moved past the image of Las Vegas or Atlantic City, allowing some form of gambling in no less than 48 States, with plenty of online operators having nationwide coverage.

Australia is another of the world’s popular real-money gaming destinations. Slot machines are the national favorite while New South Wales is particularly famous for its poker machines available everywhere. Australia also allows regulated online sports betting for all adult residents.

In Finland over 41% of the population gambles weekly, according to the Social Affairs and Health Ministry. The national lottery is even managed by the Ministry of Education, making sure the revenues are destined towards education, arts and culture.

The United Kingdom reports similar shares and has the sector efficiently monitored by the Gambling Commission. The average number of gambling accounts in the country is also above 3 per adult (3.2), on the rise from previous years.