Torstar Corporation has announced its intention to launch an online casino brand during the current year, doing so in the regulated Ontario online gaming market.

The debut is pending approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and the stipulation of a launch date by the region’s government.

“We are excited at the prospect of participating in a regulated online Ontario gaming market with a made-in-Ontario product,” noted Corey Goodman, chief corporate development officer at Torstar. 

“As an Ontario-based media business and trusted brand for more than 128 years, we believe Torstar will provide a unique and responsible gaming brand that creates new jobs, offers growth for the Ontario economy and generates new tax revenue to help support important programs in our province.”

The 2019-2020 Ontario budget contained a promise to licence firm’s to operate in a regulated online gaming market in the province. In its latest budget, the regional government said it would be “introducing legislation to give the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario authority to conduct and manage igaming, in addition to having the role of the regulator.” 

The commission would “manage the relationship between the government and private igaming operators.” The legislation has been enacted and is awaiting proclamation.

“There are two reasons for our entry into this field,” noted Paul Rivett, chair and co-owner of Torstar. “First, we want to ensure the new marketplace is well represented with a Canadian, Ontario-based gaming brand so that more of our players’ entertainment dollars stay in our province. 

“Second, doing this as part of Torstar will help support the growth and expansion of quality community-based journalism.”

Torstar’s businesses include digital and print news organizations, such as the Toronto Star, six regional daily newspapers in Ontario, and more than 70 weekly community newspapers in the jurisdiction. 

The digital and print news organisation has also unveiled a number of key additions to its igaming team, including Gil Steinfeld, Jim Warren, and former General Counsel for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Don Bourgeois. They will join Goodman and Lorenzo DeMarchi, chief investment officer of Torstar, on the team.