AGCO Releases Internet Gaming Operator Application Guide

Written By Robyn McNeil on August 21, 2021 - Last Updated on November 8, 2021

Online gambling operators know a little more today about what it will take to be licensed in Ontario.

Earlier this week, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario released an application guide for prospective operators. The guide offers detailed information aimed to assist companies in completing their registrations.

A similar guide for gambling-related suppliers is expected to follow soon.

What to expect 

For operators considering applying to enter Ontario’s open internet gambling market, the guide paints a clear picture of application requirements.

Specifics around who even needs to register as an operator is the first issue in the guide. Although the answer is “entities that operate an internet gaming site within Ontario,” this doc further breaks down what that means.

The guide also defines what “distinct gaming site” means. This clarification is important as each requires separate applications and regulatory fees. 

Speaking of regulatory fees, each online gambling site will pay CA$100,000 annually, and initial payments are due with the applications. Registrants can register for one or two-year terms, but payment must reflect the duration of the license. It’s also important to note that other regulatory costs will apply, but what those costs are (and for) is still undefined. 

According to the guide, the AGCO aims to offset the overall cost of regulating internet gaming. Operators should anticipate additional payments to recover these costs. Specific payment amounts are not defined. However, the amount could be “significantly greater” than the regulatory fee of CA$100,000 per gaming site.

The guide also covers transitioning operators from the grey market to the legal side of things (and what that entails). 

AGCO says it will coordinate the timing of registration with the execution of iGaming Ontario’s commercial contracts. This, hopefully, will make the transition seamless. The goal, AGCO says, is to avoid a “blackout” period. 

Lastly, you’ll find lists of all the documentation required, including a GAP analysis, various disclosures, a declaration, and a Control Activity Matrix. 

 The fine print

Potential applicants should take heed of the “Important Notes” in the guide’s preamble.

Namely, there’s a reminder that the guide doesn’t include all details of a registrant’s legal requirements. And, it’s up to applicants to be aware of those responsibilities, including those in the Gaming Control Act, 1922, and the Registrars Standards. 

AGCO also makes it clear each statement in an application is subject to verification. And providing false or misleading information or withholding it outright is obviously a serious offence. (It’s mentioned three times with different language).

Potential operators interested in applying should sign-up at iAGCO, AGCO’s web-based portal

Applications open in the coming weeks.

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Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax with an awesome teen, a mischievous cat, and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, and hoppy beer.

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