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Ontario releases final sports and events betting gaming standards

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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has released its final igaming sports and event betting regulatory standards, which include changes to advertising standards and integrity rules.

Single-event sports betting was officially launched in Canada on August 27, after Bill C-218 became law, but currently is only operated by provincial lotteries. However, Ontario has taken steps to liberalise its market.

The rules have been integrated into AGCO’s existing Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, which was published on July 14 2021. It is expected to take effect when the regulated market launches in Ontario.

However, there has been debate on whether Ontario’s more laid-back approach could breach Canadian law.

The standards will apply to all sports, esports, novelty, betting exchange and fantasy sports offerings.

A draft of proposed sports betting regulations for the province was released in July. Following its release, the AGCO sought industry feedback between July 28 and August 18 and, upon receiving 41 submissions from industry stakeholders, implemented the final changes.

These changes include the additions of clear definitions, particularly on sports and events-based betting to include betting types such as teaser, exchange and single-game bets.

Other definition updates include outlines of integrity-related roles, such as “registered independent integrity monitors” as those who provide integrity monitoring services to regulators and operators.

In addition, the implemented changes enhance acceptable betting conditions. This includes a minimum age to participate in events that will incur bets and banning definitive financial-type bets.

Advertising measures have also been added. Now, individuals must ensure that all advertisements are truthful and do not contain “free” or “risk-free” promotions unless they are deemed so.

From September 13th, those interested in obtaining an online gaming license can begin to prepare applications for AGCO.

On the release of the standards, Khalid Ali, CEO of the International Betting Integrity Association, said: “The association welcomes the balanced and proportionate approach to betting integrity as set out by the AGCO in its Standards.”

“In particular, the recognition of the benefits from operators being part of an integrity monitoring system. IBIA and its members look forward to working with the AGCO and wider Canadian stakeholders to protect sporting events and regulated betting markets from potential corruption.”