Ontario government establishes new igaming division

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The Ontario government has created a new dedicated igaming division that would be responsible for conducting and managing new online gaming offerings in the province.

iGaming Ontario will become a new subsidiary of the already established Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). This new division aims to create a safer, more regulated and fairly competitive online gaming market in the Canadian province.

This move will also help position Ontario as one of the global leaders in online gaming while equally ensuring that robust measures are set up to protect consumers.

“Following Parliament’s historic vote to lift the prohibition on single-event sports wagering last month, the establishment of iGaming Ontario is another pivotal milestone in our work to ensure people have access to a safe and regulated online gaming market by the end of the year,” said Attorney General Doug Downey in a report.

The government of Ontario is determined to work with industry leaders, regulatory partners and other responsible gaming advocates to ensure that Ontario becomes an international leader in creating a safe and consumer-friendly online gaming environment that meets players expectations, Downey added.

The incorporation of the iGaming subsidiary is a continuation of Ontario’s growth in the area of creating a more competitive market for online gaming in Ontario—providing players with more choices in online gaming platforms within a safe and heavily regulated framework. With this new subsidiary, players can enjoy playing slots online Canada and be guaranteed of their safety while doing so.

Last year, the Ontario government first announced that it was finalizing plans to create a dedicated subsidiary of the AGCO that would be primarily responsible for managing new igaming offers—with the new online gambling market expected to be open later this year.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) will continue in its role of conducting and managing its own igaming offerings through its official website. As for the role of the AGCO, it will remain the same but would differ in many ways from that of the newly formed subsidiary.

The AGCO will still be responsible for having a regulatory oversight on all online gaming activities in Ontario province, including operators, suppliers and the new subsidiary.

Birgitte Sand, Ontario’s iGaming Commercial Project Lead, alongside the government, will continue to hold meetings with First Nations communities and organizations, members of the igaming industry and relevant social responsibility groups to help finalize the rules for the new gaming marketplace.

Sand has equally been working closely with the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Finance and the AGCO to help provide their expertise and much-needed advice on creating a suitable igaming model that works best for Ontario players.

Currently, Ontario players spend nearly $1bn annually on online gambling with approximately 70 per cent of that amount being traded on unregulated, grey market sites, with limited, or no, consumer protection and adequate responsible gambling measures.

“Ontario’s new legal iGaming market will create new opportunities for Ontario businesses and a better, safer gaming experience for players,” said Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy.

“A competitive, regulated online gaming market will provide a safer alternative to the unregulated, grey market websites that currently exist – and which may lack proper consumer protections or responsible gaming measures,” he continued.

One major advantage of creating a new legal igaming market is that it would generate sufficient revenue for the province to invest in other ventures such as aiding unemployment, business, supporting people and families, and improving important public service, especially post-COVID.