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Ontario establishes gambling industry division

  • Published date12 July 2021

Ontario’s government has unveiled a new division geared at regulating the province’s emerging online gambling market. The new entity, iGaming Ontario, exists as a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) that manages all of Ontario’s gambling.

Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey explained that the creation of iGaming Ontario is an important development in guaranteeing that players can access safe and regulated online gaming.

Sweeping change

Canada’s iGaming industry has been given much more room to evolve due to the passing of Bill C-218. The bill was tabled in February 2020 but was only put to a vote over a year later in April 2021 when it was approved by the House of Commons. On 29 June 2021, the Senate voted on the bill and it was passed into law. This bill effectively legalizes sports betting in the country with far fewer restrictions than before where all bets had to be parlays with three-event minimums.

The previously restrictive environment meant that only an estimated CAD500 million of the total CAD1.4 billion that Canadians bet on sports every year was wagered legally. The remainder of this spending was likely achieved via illegal methods.

With Bill C-218 in effect, players can place single wagers on individual games, leading to expectations of a gold rush of sorts for iGaming operators. Each province has initiated the process to put their regulations in place and applications for licenses are open under the oversight of iGaming Ontario.

Full disclosure

iGaming Ontario has guaranteed players and casino operators complete transparency, with an estimated timeline already posted onto its website to keep stakeholders updated about how to get their sites operational. The organisation will also work with industry stakeholders and the public to create the regulatory structure that will pave the way forward.

Later on in the year, iGaming Ontario is expected to announce a draft commercial agreement for operators to review. Operators with an interest in offering internet gambling in Ontario can begin submitting their applications via the iAGCO online portal. Once they have been approved, operators will receive agreements to sign from the regulator.

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