Canada – Ontario government forms iGaming Ontario to create safe, regulated and competitive online gamingBy Phil - 8 July 2021
The Ontario government is taking a key step toward creating a safe, regulated and competitive online gaming market to help protect consumers and provide more choice while ensuring a level playing field for new businesses. iGaming Ontario, a new subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, will conduct and manage the new online gaming offerings in the province. It will also help establish Ontario as an international leader in online gaming while ensuring robust measures are in place to protect consumers.
“Following Parliament’s historic vote to lift the prohibition on single-event sport wagering last month, the establishment of iGaming Ontario is another pivotal milestone in our work to ensure people have access to a safe and regulated online gaming market by the end of the year,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “We are determined to work with industry, responsible gaming advocates and regulatory partners to ensure Ontario is a world leader in building a safe online gaming environment that meets consumer expectations.”
The incorporation of the subsidiary builds on Ontario’s progress in creating a competitive market for internet gaming (iGaming) in Ontario, providing consumers with more choice in online gaming products within a secure and regulated framework. In 2020, the government announced that a dedicated subsidiary of the AGCO would be established to conduct and manage the new iGaming offerings. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) will continue to conduct and manage its own iGaming offerings through OLG.ca.
The AGCO’s role as regulator will remain the same and will be kept separate from the subsidiary’s role. The AGCO will continue to be responsible for regulatory oversight for all gaming activities in Ontario, including iGaming operators and suppliers as well as over the new subsidiary. The new iGaming marketplace is expected to be operational in December 2021.
The government, along with Ontario’s iGaming Commercial Project Lead, Birgitte Sand, will continue to meet with the iGaming industry, First Nations communities and organizations and social responsibility groups to finalize the setup and rules for the new marketplace. Birgitte Sand has been working closely with the AGCO, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Attorney General to provide critical expertise and advice on creating an iGaming model that works for Ontario consumers.
Ontarians spend close to $1bn a year on online gambling with an estimated 70 per cent taking place on unregulated, grey market websites, with limited, if any, consumer protection and responsible gaming measures. Many players who access these sites are not even aware they are not regulated. That is why the government is creating a competitive market for regulated online gaming in Ontario, which will provide consumers with more choice in iGaming products while ensuring a safe online environment that minimizes the risks for players.
“Ontario’s new legal iGaming market will create new opportunities for Ontario businesses and a better, safer gaming experience for players,” said Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy. “A competitive, regulated online gaming market will provide a safer alternative to the unregulated, grey market websites that currently exist – and which may lack proper consumer protections or responsible gaming measures. A new legal market would also generate revenue for the province to invest in supporting jobs and businesses, supporting people and their families, and improving and strengthening critical public services for a post-COVID world.”
image By Aaron Davis – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=92721605