AGCO Publishes Final Sports and Event Betting Standards

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on September 16, 2021 - Last Updated on October 16, 2021

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) released finalized regulatory standards for sports and event betting in Ontario.

After gathering feedback from the industry, the agency made changes to drafted advertising standards and integrity rules. The updated regulations are now part of AGCO’s existing Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, first published in July.

The AGCO developed an online gambling regulatory guide to educate all interested operators and suppliers to apply for registration. On Sept 13, the AGCO officially began accepting applications.

Regulatory guide to help control province’s new market

Canada officially launched single-event sports betting on Aug. 27, when Bill C-218 came into effect. Thanks to the recent legal change, Canadians can bet on a single game or event.

It is now up to provincial lotteries to license and regulate single-event sports betting in their respective jurisdictions. Still, in the early days of single-game sports betting, Ontario has taken steps to liberalize its market. The launch is on the calendar for December.

That said, many commercial (private) operators are eager to enter Ontario’s soon-to-be-open gambling market. As there are strict rules to comply with, the AGCO developed an online gambling regulatory guide to educate interested parties.

To enter Ontario’s competitive igaming market, operators will first have to register under the Gaming Control Act, 1992 (GCA). They will then need to sign a commercial agreement with iGaming Ontario, the agency responsible for overseeing private operators. Only those who have applied for and obtained a license will be able to operate.

As of Sept. 13th, those interested in obtaining an online gaming license began the process of preparing applications for AGCO.

As of Monday, igaming operators and suppliers have submitted applications for registration with the AGCO through its online service portal, iAGCO.

OLG and its new online sportsbook, PROLINE+, must also comply with the iGaming and online sports betting standards.

The standards will apply to all sports, esports, novelty, betting exchange and fantasy sports offerings.

Stricter rules for promoting bonuses

After the agency gathered feedback from the industry, it made subtle tweaks to the final scheme.

Tighter rules around acceptable bets are now part of the finalized regulations. The tweaks refer to “the age of event participants and prohibiting specific financial-type bets,” like those on stocks and bonds.

Advertising measures have also got a remix. The words “free” and “risk-free” will be subject to additional analysis. In particular, all advertisements must be truthful and not promote “free” or “risk-free” wagers unless they are sincere.

The minimum age to participate in the event “or league” is 18. The final draft also states the “event shall be broadly defined as assessing total participants in the event/league, rather than in a particular heat, game, match or final contest in the overall sporting event.”

Stakeholders to protect sporting events

“The association welcomes the balanced and proportionate approach to betting integrity as set out by the AGCO in its Standards,” said Khalid Ali, CEO of the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA).

“In particular, the recognition of the benefits from operators being part of an integrity monitoring system. IBIA and its members look forward to working with the AGCO and wider Canadian stakeholders to protect sporting events and regulated betting markets from potential corruption.”

Photo by AGCO.ca
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