Survey Finds Most Ontarians Believe Major Gaming Sites Are Unregulated

Spin Genie Ontario also found 34% of online players were either not aware or unsure of responsible gambling and player protection tools provided by operators.
March 31, 2023

There is an opportunity for further education on the differences between legal and non-compliant gambling operators. A survey commissioned by Spin Genie finds the vast majority of Ontarians believe major gaming sites are unregulated, which the online casino operator said is evidence that the public needs additional guidance on being able to discern between legal and illegal gaming sites.

In its Ontario Online Gambling Sentiments Survey, Spin Genie Ontario found 72% of respondents were aware that PROLINE — a platform run by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) that offers online sports betting and some online casino games — was a regulated site.

The survey found that among online players, nearly three-in-ten (28%) did not report using any of the websites or apps listed by Spin Genie, which the operator said, “[suggests] many gamblers are unaware of the implications of legalization or may be using smaller, unregulated sites.”

But at the same time, the survey found that current players are also consistently more likely to believe the websites and apps they personally use are regulated.

“This suggests there is an opportunity for further education on the differences between legal and non-compliant gambling operators,” Spin Genie said in a statement on March 28.

The lack of clarity by the public is further exacerbated by an influx of Ontarians new to online gambling. The survey found that roughly two-in-five players (43%) gambled for less than a year, and about one in four (24%) signed up within the past six months. Ontario's market for online poker, casino gaming, and sports betting launched on April 4, 2022.

Spin Genie said the market’s launch drove operators to enact responsible gambling tools. Of the survey’s respondents, 53% agreed that the province’s decision to regulate the online market made it safer for bettors.

“As a regulated [Ontario online casino] operator in Ontario, Spin Genie sets the standards in responsible gambling with industry-leading responsible gambling and enhanced player protection tools,” the operator said. “Players have the ability to set deposit limits, loss limits, and breaks to take control of their gambling.

“Spin Genie’s player protection tools safeguard players from irresponsible gaming habits for the most responsible experience.”

But the survey found there was room for improvement in that area, too. Spin Genie said that while most (65%) of online players know that licensed operators provide safe gambling and player protection tools, the remaining 34% of respondents were unaware or unsure of those efforts.

Spin Genie found that three in five (59%) non-players were either unaware or unsure of the safe gambling tools offered by online operators.

“This presents an opportunity for greater education around these practices,” the operator said.

Spin Genie also opined that Ontario could be a slow-growing market. The survey found that among non-players, “Ontarians who play free games online are slightly more open to the idea of gambling than those who do not play online games at all.”

But both groups of non-players doubt they would open an account within the next year — with 94% of those who play free games online and 98% of those who don’t saying it is unlikely they would gamble. All of this “[suggests] less room for market growth in years to come,” Spin Genie said.

The operator interviewed 1,501 adults aged 19 and older in Ontario between February 27 and March 3. Respondents are members of the Angus Reid Forum, a well-known public opinion community in Canada.

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