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Ontario Releases Standards for REGULATED Internet Gaming

Ontario Flag Map

As Ontario looks towards a fall launch of its iGaming market, the province has released its official Standards. They operate as a key part of the regulatory framework. Once the regulated online gaming scene is fully launched in Ontario, these Standards will become effective.

As Canada’s biggest provincial market, Ontario is likely to see an eager throng of people waiting for the regulations to come into effect later on in the year. Included within the Standards are rules surrounding the minimum age that players need to be to partake in gambling, the protocol surrounding player complaints, and the inclusion of responsible gambling policies.

The Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming were released by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) on Wednesday, July 14. This document also provides details on the functioning of online sports betting within Ontario. With single-game wagering on the horizon as a legal activity, this could stand to be Canada’s most lucrative market for operators.

Ontario Releases iGaming Rules

The Path to Single-Game Wagers in Canada

Man Deciding Between Paths

Placing single sports bets on a variety of events from the worlds of football, ice hockey, basketball, and more is something that Canadian bettors have been requesting for a long time. And this was signed into official law with the introduction of Bill C-218, which was approved by the Canadian Senate in June. The bill, known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, serves as an amendment to the Criminal Code relating to sports betting.

The bill was put to a vote in the upper chamber, and it sailed through, obtaining an outcome of 57-20. This came about following a vote in the House, where it passed with an even brighter outcome of 303 to 15 votes. After such successful voting outcomes for the bill, it was then left to become official law. Through it, Canada legalized single-game sports betting opportunities, which is waiting to officially launch within the country.

Solo event wagers could be offered before the end of 2021. Therefore, Ontario could be providing single-game wagers by fall.

It could all have been thanks to the efforts of Premier Doug Ford, who was elected to his position in June 2018. As a successful businessman, it didn’t take long for people to wonder how he would boost the economy of the province.

Doug FordPremier Doug Ford Is a Big Supporter of Licensed Online Gambling

Speculation spread to the expansion of online gambling, and the first budget that Ford released was all about increasing Ontario’s revenue. A heavy focus was placed on gambling, with the Premier looking to keep gambling funds within Ontario rather than have them lost to what were described as “grey-market websites.” To reach this point, Ford looked towards introducing more options for sports bettors, citing the spread of legal sports betting within the United States as a factor.

What the Ontario Standards Include

Pages of a Document

Released by the AGCO, there are specifics included within the Standards for iGaming in Ontario, and these will apply to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) with regard to its internet gaming site, iGaming Ontario, and all of the province’s registered iGaming operators. Certain standards will also apply to registered suppliers of gaming content.

One of the first inclusions in the Standards for iGaming is the premise that online gamblers should be at least 19 years of age. An exemption to this rule is if a person is buying a lottery ticket where the requirement is lowered to 18.

Additionally, the very first standard regards management integrity and insists that there needs to be a “commitment to character, integrity and high ethical values demonstrated through attitude and actions.” Rules that dictate how advertising and marketing should be approached are also included. It is necessary that any high-risk, underage, or self-excluded players should not be targeted by these advertisements. Advertisements surrounding bonuses and other promotions can only occur on an operator’s website too.

It is also the case that there are certain requirements that solely apply to specific games. For example, an outright ban on autoplay functions within slot machine games is in place.

Under the Standards released by the AGCO, companies registered and operating in Ontario could provide sports betting opportunities to their players. The government of the province has noted that it definitely wants this form of wagering to be a part of the upcoming legal market.

Any company looking to offer sports betting, similar to how various locations in the United States are doing right now, will need to abide by the AGCO’s released Standards as well as the province’s Gaming Control Act. At the same time, operators will need to abide by rules laid out in contracts associated with iGaming Ontario.

Those operators looking to launch sports betting operations will need to follow the aforementioned rules as well as various others that have yet to be published. They will relate specifically to sports and event betting and are expected to be officially released during the summer. That comes ahead of the expected fall launch of the province’s licensed iGaming market.

The next steps also dictate that the AGCO will be releasing final details on the registration process as well as rules surrounding compliance obligations relating to the upcoming competitive iGaming market.

Work Still to Complete on Ontario’s Gambling Scene

Despite the fact that there is still a lot to be done with regard to Ontario’s regulations and launch of its iGaming scene, the province is getting closer and closer to offering a fully legal market. This could very well serve as one of Canada’s most liberal gambling markets, especially where sports betting is concerned. As such, it could very well draw in a high level of interest from major U.S. sports betting operators.

It wouldn’t surprise many people to see brands like DraftKings taking up some sort of position within Ontario. That brand has already united with the NFL as its official daily fantasy sports partner in the United States.

Another brand, PointsBet, will doubtless be looking to insert itself into the Canadian online gaming market too. The Australian brand already has a heavy presence within the U.S. gambling scene and could become a huge hitter in Canada alongside.

It made an announcement recently over its appointment of former executive of Rogers Communications, Scott Vanderwel, as the first CEO of its Canadian branch. This came about not long after the company announced it had named Nic Sulsky as its chief commercial officer and Chantal Cipriano as vice president of legal, compliance, and people.

Despite the fact that the Standards released recently are final, they can also be readily revised as necessary. An ACGO spokesperson said:

We strive for continuous improvement, and will likely release updates from time to time. The AGCO is actively considering the feedback received through our engagement processes to date, including those specific to the eligibility/registration and compliance.

Online Gaming in Canada at the Moment

Dice and Cards

As Ontario moves towards a more liberal iGaming market, the potential is there for many more official sportsbooks and casinos to become available within. Some of those sites may also contain poker options for you to access. In the meantime, we have our own guidance that you can follow, and this will inform you of the current status of online poker Canada, poker sites that are Canadian-friendly, laws, and more.

These include such impressive poker rooms as that offered by Bodog, which has a large player base and anonymous tables with support for cryptocurrency transactions to occur. Another high-quality Canada-friendly poker site is Tiger Gaming where you’re able to experience weekly leaderboards, a fantastic selection of promotions, and a plethora of payment options.