Ontario Government Announces New iGaming Organization
The government of Ontario has created a new group to control online gambling operations in the province, including casino and sports betting services.
As legislative changes are made, gambling companies must make changes too in order to keep up with services offered. In Canada, major changes are afoot regarding casino gaming and sports betting. To keep up, the government of Ontario recently announced the creation of iGaming Ontario, a new organization that will oversee the online gaming industry of the province. The group will oversee all aspects iGaming, such as single-game sports betting. The goal is to see bets offered by the end of 2021.
iGaming Ontario is set to be a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of the province. Such an entity was needed as new online gambling options launch in Ontario. In June, a legal change set in motion the ability for provinces to allow single-event sports betting, an option that Ontario wants to take full advantage of. Because of the legal change, the province wants to be set up to offer services as quickly as possible.
With iGaming Ontario at the helm, the subsidiary will act on its own, with a staff and board of directors. However, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission will continue to regulate the group. Birgitte Sand is a consultant from Denmark who is leading the creation of the group.
Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey called the new entity’s creation a pivotal milestone in the work to ensure that people of the province have access to an online gaming market that is safe and regulated. The AG hopes to see the province become a world leader in the industry.
Mr. Downey stated: “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.”
Officials expect iGaming Ontario to be fully established and operational by this December. Details on how the entity will function have yet to be provided.
Creating a Safe iGaming Environment
In Ontario, it has been estimated that almost $1 billion is spent a year by residents via online gambling sites. Of that amount, around 70% is spent at unregulated sites. This puts consumers at risk of nonpayment on wins by providers or other concerns, such as responsible gaming measures.
With the recent changes in Canada regarding single event sports betting, government officials are hopeful that players will make the switch from gray market websites to regulated options within their province. Before the legal option, players were having to visit unlicensed sites to find this betting option.
Because single event betting was not an option in the country, players were using black market sites to place bets. This means that revenues are going to entities that are not licensed to offer services in the country. With the option now regulated, players can place the same bets, but the provinces that offer services will benefit instead of the offshore sites. Players were also not protected as these sites do not have to adhere to any regulations or protections set forth by the Canadian government.
Along with creating a safer online gambling environment, the legal changes also provide new opportunities for businesses in provinces like Ontario. The overall goal is to bring players into a regulated market, protecting consumers by providing quality services, along with generating revenues for the region.
Revenues earned would help Canada provinces get back on their feet after a rough few months regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. With a new source of revenues, the country would have funds to use for support of public services and other needs.
It is expected that other provinces will make changes as well to be able to offer more online gambling services including sports betting. So far, plans have not been revealed by officials in provinces other than Ontario. We expect more details to emerge in the near future as plans to launch services gets underway.