AGCO CEO Tom Mungham: 6 Operators, 24 Suppliers, 450+ Games Certified In Ontario

Written By Dave Briggs on March 8, 2022 - Last Updated on March 15, 2022
Regulation graphic

There are now six operators, 24 suppliers and 450 certified games officially registered in Ontario with the launch of the open market less than a month away on April 4. So says Tom Mungham, the CEO of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (below, photo) in an interview with PlayOntario.

“We expect those numbers to grow every week,” Mungham said. “We’re continuing to work closely with all who have applied to join the market. Not every operator will be ready to launch their services on day one. Some are more ready than others. This means Ontario’s new iGaming market will steadily expand in the weeks and months following April 4.”

Image of Tom Mungham, the CEO of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario

The AGCO will regulate Ontario’s online casino and sports betting business. Its subsidiary, iGaming Ontario, is “responsible for entering into Operating Agreements with private iGaming operators in order to fulfill the province’s conduct and management mandate.” Being licensed to operate involves being successfully registered with the AGO and then securing the aforementioned Operating Agreement with iGO.

“As regulator, the AGCO is responsible for ensuring that all participants in the market are acting with honesty, integrity and in accordance with Ontario’s gaming laws and regulations. The AGCO vets all those who want to offer gaming sites (operators) in the province as well as those who provide games and key gaming systems (suppliers).”

Companies such as PointsBet, theScore Bet, Rivalry and 888 Holdings have announced their AGCO registrations. The next step for those companies is entering an agreement with iGO. Some 30 companies are expected in the market.

AGCO’s approach to the grey market

Mungham said the AGCO has set up a framework for converting Ontario’s illegal grey-market operators, suppliers and players to a regulated market.

“Our policy is clear. All operators and gaming suppliers who apply to the AGCO for registration before April 4 must stop any unregulated market activities in Ontario once they are issued their registration. They must also end any association they may have with another company that operates in the unregulated market in Ontario. Those who have not applied by April 4 and who continue to operate in the unregulated market, or do business with those who do, risk not having their application for registration approved.

“As part of this transition, the AGCO is committed to taking strong action to address any remaining unregulated Ontario market activity in partnership with law enforcement.”

But what happens to current customers of grey market companies transitioning to regulated ones? Mungham said those companies will have to transition existing customers to join the new market. He said iGaming Ontario has provided resources to operators to help in the transition.

“Although not an exhaustive list, these steps include settling any live bets and bets on future events, posting new operator website terms and conditions and privacy policies, and verifying or re-verifying player identities to ensure they are eligible to play in Ontario,” Mungham said.

Promising strong regulation to protect consumers

A key part of the AGCO’s role in online sports and casino gaming will be consumer protection, Mungham said.

“The AGCO’s regulatory standards have several key priorities like game fairness, player protection, responsible gambling, anti-money laundering and several others. Here are just a few examples of what this looks like.

“All gaming sites are required to conduct their gaming activities and their financial transactions fairly and in a way that is independently verifiable. The key aspects of games and gaming systems that ensure fairness to players must be certified by independent testing laboratories that are monitored by the AGCO. All sites offering sport and event betting must work to detect suspicious betting patterns and contract with independent integrity monitors to protect against insider betting, event manipulation and other activities that could unfairly affect outcomes.

“Mandatory player protections include that site operators must secure their players’ personal information and protect their privacy. They must also protect player deposits and guarantee payouts for all winnings.”

Enforcement and preventing money laundering

Mungham said the AGCO is working with law enforcement to establish a framework that “includes rigorous anti-money laundering measures. Strict standards, increased monitoring and disclosure requirements, and continuous oversight will help ensure unlawful and criminal activity does not take place.

“The AGCO will conduct ongoing risk assessments to determine the potential for unlawful activities, including money laundering, fraud, theft and cheat at play. In addition, as a reporting entity under the Proceeds of Crime Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act, iGaming Ontario is responsible for meeting the obligations of the Act and its Regulations as applicable and to comply with the law, including the Criminal Code, Canada.”

To that end, the AGCO has established a new unit called the iGaming Compliance Assurance Unit. It will exclusively focus on ensuring the ongoing compliance of iGaming operators and suppliers.

Responsible gambling is key

Mungham said the AGCO has a long-standing relationship with the province’s responsible gambling community. He said the AGCO actively consulted the RG community when creating the regulatory framework.

“We therefore have strong requirements for operators to identify and help individuals who may be at risk of experiencing harm.”

This includes prohibiting advertising that offers inducements, bonuses or credits. Also, the AGCO requires “operators to maintain a self-exclusion program, requiring operators to identify and assist players who may be experiencing gambling-related harm, and strict game design standards for online slots to protect players.

“These are just some of the many protections that will be in place in the regulated market.”

Making progress

The AGCO also regulates Ontario’s horse racing, alcohol, cannabis and bricks-and-mortar casinos. Mungham said the AGCO has made great progress since iGO was established in July of 2021.

“In September 2021, we began accepting applications from operators and suppliers, and we’ve been working closely with them to assess their eligibility and help them understand Ontario’s requirements. We’re encouraged to see so much interest from companies looking to enter the Ontario market.

“It certainly has been a significant undertaking. In addition to the existing staff the AGCO redirected to work on this initiative, we’ve added a number of positions to strengthen our capacity in key areas like regulatory compliance, financial investigations, anti-money laundering, and online gaming technology.”

Photo by Alexandersikov / Dreamstime.com
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Dave Briggs

Before joining PlayOntario, Dave spent more than 25 years as a writer and editor, mainly covering horse racing in Canada. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Western University and was a 2018 inductee into the Communicators' Corner of the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Beyond a deep passion for family and music, Dave has a mostly-tragic, life-long love of Detroit sports teams. He lives in Port Stanley, Ontario with his wife and their beloved Vizsla named California.

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