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Canada – The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario releases final sport and event betting standards for igaming

By - 13 September 2021

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has released the final regulatory standards for internet gaming-based sport and event betting in Ontario. The sport and event betting standards have been fully incorporated into the existing Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, originally published on July 14, 2021. These standards will apply to all sports, esports, novelty, betting exchange, and fantasy sports products. An overview of these additional standards can be found below.

The AGCO’s igaming regulatory framework aims to achieve the Government of Ontario’s objectives of providing consumer choice, ensuring consumer protection, supporting the growth of the legal market, generating provincial revenues, and reducing red tape.

The Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, including the standards relating to sport and event betting, are fundamental to the AGCO’s igaming regulatory framework and standards-based approach to regulation.

The sport and event betting standards were primarily developed to address the expanded menu of sport and event betting options made available by the legalization of single-event sports betting in Canada and to minimize the potential compromising of betting markets through activities such as insider betting or game manipulation including requiring operators to actively monitor the betting markets for suspicious betting activity and prohibiting insiders, including coaches, athletes and referees, from betting on certain events.

The AGCO released draft sport and event betting standards and sought feedback from the industry. During the engagement period, from July 28 – Aug 18, 2021, the agency received a total of 41 submissions from industry stakeholders. In order to strengthen its regulatory framework and best fulfill its mandate, the AGCO reviewed each submission and made refinements where appropriate.

Based on industry feedback, the following changes have been incorporated into the final sport and event betting standards:

Clarified the integrity-related roles and responsibilities of various actors, including the definition and expectations of “registered independent integrity monitors”.

Strengthened select acceptable betting criteria, including those related to the age of event participants and prohibiting specific financial-type bets.
Added sport and event betting-related definitions. Further strengthened the requirements related to the advertisement of inducements, including adding a requirement that all advertising is truthful, and limiting the use of language that advertises promotions as ‘free’ or ‘risk-free’ unless they are so. These revisions allow the AGCO to continue offering a balanced approach to regulation that allows operators to advertise their brand and attract customers, while upholding extensive responsible gambling safeguards.

Starting September 13, prospective internet gaming (igaming) operators and gaming-related suppliers can begin the process of preparing applications for registration with the AGCO. Registration is available through the AGCO’s online service portal, iAGCO.

Registration under the Gaming Control Act, 1992 (GCA) is required for all operators and gaming-related suppliers intending to participate in Ontario’s upcoming open and competitive igaming market. igaming operators will also be required to enter into a commercial contract with iGaming Ontario, details of which can be found on the engagement portal. The AGCO understands that land-based operators are also interested in sport and event betting and will consider revisions to the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming to accommodate sport and event betting in the near future. The AGCO developed resources to help interested igaming operators and suppliers prepare their application in advance of registration opening. Consult the list below for applicable support materials.

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