The Ontario government has made what it calls “a key step toward creating a safe, regulated and competitive online gaming market” through establishing iGaming Ontario.
The new subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will “conduct and manage” the new online gaming offerings in the province, as well as helping to establish the region as “an international leader in online gaming”.
“Following Parliament’s historic vote to lift the prohibition on single-event sport 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 Doug Downey, attorney general of Ontario.
“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.”
It is added that the AGCO’s role as regulator will remain the same, and will be kept separate from the subsidiary’s role.
The AGCO will continue to be responsible for regulatory oversight for all gaming activities in Ontario, including igaming operators, suppliers, and the new subsidiary. The new igaming marketplace is expected to be operational in December 2021.
The government, along with Ontario’s igaming commercial project lead, Birgitte Sand, will continue to meet with the industry, First Nations communities and organisations and social responsibility groups to finalise the setup and rules for the new marketplace.
Moreover, it is also noted that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation will continue to conduct and manage its own igaming offerings through OLG.ca.
“Ontario’s new legal igaming market will create new opportunities for Ontario businesses and a better, safer gaming experience for players,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, finance minister of Ontario.
“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.
“A new legal market would also generate revenue for the province to invest in supporting jobs and businesses, supporting people and their families, and improving and strengthening critical public services for a post-COVID world.”
It is estimated that Ontarians spend close to $1bn a year on online gambling, with approximately 70 per cent taking place on unregulated, grey market websites.