Potential changes to the online gambling scene within the province of Ontario have been welcomed by the Canadian Gaming Association, as the Progressive Conservative government aims to establish a competitive marketplace.
Set to push the federal government to allow betting on single-game sporting events, which is currently prohibited in the country’s criminal code, it is also stressed that the region wishes to open up its online gambling opportunities, a marketplace that is currently maintained and regulated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission.
The CGA comments that Ontarians currently have an outlay of over $500m per year gambling with offshore sites, and applauds a commitment to create a “competitive market for online legal gambling that will reflect consumer choice while protecting consumers who play on these sites”.
Consultation is set to proceed alongside industry stakeholders, with the CGA, who is to participate in discussion, emphasising that it shares Ontario’s commitment to develop a market that reflects consumers preferences, delivers an entertaining gaming experience, and ensures appropriate safeguards are available.
“We have seen significant growth in the amount of wagering with offshore websites, and we welcome the move to create a regulatory system for offshore sites to better protect consumers,” commented Paul Burns, president and CEO of the CGA.
Before also thanking finance minister Vic Fedeli for the Ontario government’s ongoing pressure on the federal government to amend the criminal code to permit single-event wagering: “We share the Minister’s view that it’s time to end the gambling prohibition era, and allow sports bettors access to the product they want,” added Burns.
This latest manoeuvre has also been welcomed by theScore, whose founder and CEO John Levy explained: “theScore has always embraced the fact that sports betting is part of the overall fan experience, and it is finally time for jurisdictions across Canada to adopt common sense sports betting regulation.
“We applaud the Ontario government for taking this very significant first step. As we prepare for the launch of our sportsbook in the United States, we intend to actively participate in the Ontario government’s consultation process.
“theScore is already a highly-recognised brand in Canadian mobile sports, and the most popular mobile sports app in the country. We’ll be ready to provide Canadian fans with a best-in-class mobile sports betting experience when the opportunity arises.”
In the current government’s first budget, it was also revealed that Ontario casinos are also set to be permitted to advertise free alcohol for gamblers.