iGaming Ontario will regulate the province’s internet gambling industry under the umbrella of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Ontario not wasting time
The Ontario (Canada) government has announced the creation of a new division to regulate the province’s upcoming online gambling market. iGaming Ontario, unveiled on Tuesday, is a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which oversees all gambling in Ontario.
ensure people have access to a safe and regulated online gaming market by the end of the year”
Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said that “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.”
iGaming Ontario will start doling out licenses later in 2021 to online gambling operators “that meet the province’s rigorous standards of game and operator integrity, fairness, player protections and social responsibility.”
Approved sites will display iGaming Ontario’s logo as a way to assure customers that they have met the province’s standards.
Keeping everyone in the loop
The regulatory body has posted an estimated timeline on its website to keep stakeholders and the public informed about the process of getting online gaming sites up and running. This summer, iGaming Ontario will develop the gaming industry’s regulatory structure, accepting input from said stakeholders.
Later this summer and into the fall, iGaming Ontario will put out a draft commercial agreement for operators to review. After that, those operators that are interested in offering internet gambling in the province can begin submitting their applications through the iAGCO online portal.
Approved operators will sign their agreements with iGaming Ontario in the fall. At the same time, the requisite IT systems with which the online gambling industry will work will be constructed and tested. iGaming Ontario, AGCO, and the operators will all be involved in testing.
iGaming Ontario expects to let the first operators begin offering their products in December 2021.
Real sports betting, finally
All of this can happen because of the passage of a new Canadian law that permits single-event sports betting in the country. C-218 was originally introduced in February 2020, but did not get as far as a vote until this year. The House of Commons passed it in April and then, just a couple weeks ago, the Senate of Canada approved the bill by a 57-20-5 vote. The bill became law on June 29.
The only wagers people could place were parlays with a three-event minimum.
Sports betting was legal in Canada before this new law, but the industry was extremely limited. The only wagers people could place were parlays with a three-event minimum. Thus, if you wanted to bet on a game, you had to pick two other games to handcuff it to and if just one of those didn’t come through, you lost the entire bet.
Because of this limitation, it is estimated that only about CA$500m (US$401m) of the total CA$14.5bn (US$11.6bn) that Canadians bet on sports every year was actually bet on those legal parlays.
Now, traditional sports betting, the ability to just put down a wager on an individual game, is allowed in Canada. A gold rush of eager internet gaming operators is expected as provinces lay out their regulations and begin accepting licensing applications, as iGaming Ontario is doing.