The Ontario government has formed a new dedicated igaming organisation to conduct and manage new online gaming offerings in the Canadian province.
iGaming Ontario will operate as a subsidiary of the state’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and ensure new measures are put in place to protect Ontario consumers from gambling-related harm.
The government first announced plans for a dedicated subsidiary last year, with Ontario expecting to open its new online gambling market in December this year.
“Ontario’s new legal igaming market will create new opportunities for Ontario businesses and a better, safer gaming experience for players,” Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said.
“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.”
The AGCO’s responsibilities as regulator will remain the same and 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 and suppliers.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) will also continue to both conduct and manage its own igaming offerings through OLG.ca.
Ontario’s government and Birgitte Sand, the state’s igaming commercial project lead, will continue to hold meetings with the online gambling industry, First Nations communities and organizations and social responsibility groups to finalize the setup and rules for the market.
Formation of the new subsidiary comes after a bill to legalize single-event sports betting in Canada last week secured Royal Assent and will pass into law once the country’s House of Commons has been advised.
Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, repeals paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code, under which consumers are only permitted to wager on at least three games or more, meaning that a bet on a single match or event is deemed illegal.
Now the bill has passed, Canadians will be able to legally place wagers on single games or events for the first time.
“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,” Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said.
“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.”