With the establishment of iGaming Ontario, Ontario’s open and competitive online gambling market inches closer.
Announced yesterday, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) subsidiary is responsible for internet gaming run by private operators. The move is a crucial step toward creating a safe, regulated online market that protects and offers choice. It should also establish Ontario as a global leader in online gambling that takes consumer safety seriously.
Attorney General Doug Downey calls iGaming Ontario a “pivotal milestone” in establishing a safe and regulated system.
“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.”
From the ground up
The creation of iGaming Ontario builds on earlier progress toward offering consumers more safe and regulated choices. Choices that will not only include legal online casinos but single-event betting. The latter due to Bill C-218, which legalizes single-event wagering, receiving Royal Assent on June 29.
In 2020, the Ontario government first announced plans for a dedicated subsidiary to conduct and manage new online gambling offerings. So far, in 2021, they have followed through with public engagements and the creation of this new government arm. However, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) still controls the internet gambling offerings at OLG.ca.
The commission’s role as regulator will also remain the same and kept separate from the subsidiary’s role. The AGCO will continue to be responsible for regulatory oversight for all gaming in Ontario. This oversight includes iGaming operators, suppliers, and the new subsidiary.
Launch by the end of year
According to the current timeline, Ontario’s new internet gambling marketplace should launch sometime in December.
The government, and Ontario’s iGaming Commercial Project Lead, Birgitte Sand, continue to meet with stakeholders to finalize the new marketplace. Sand has been working closely with AGCO to create an iGaming model that works for Ontario.
Ontarians already spend close to 1 billion Canadian dollars each year on online gambling. As much as 70% of that occurs with limited customer protection in the unregulated, grey market. Many players are not even aware the sites are unregulated. That is a big part of why Ontario is creating a competitive market for regulated online gaming.
“Ontario’s new legal iGaming market will create new opportunities for Ontario businesses and a better, safer gaming experience for players. A competitive, regulated online gaming market will provide a safer alternative,” said Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy.
“A new legal market would also generate revenue for the province,” added Bethlenfalvy. “To invest in supporting jobs and businesses, supporting people and their families, and improving and strengthening critical public services for a post-COVID world.