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Ontario’s Regulated Online Gambling Market Finally Launched
The Canadian province of Ontario launched its legal iGaming market on the 4th of April. Nearly three years after the provincial government revealed its plans to end the online gambling monopoly in 2019, the opening finally happened. In 2020, Ontario’s government introduced legislation to allow operators to apply for online casino licenses. In September 2021, it published its final standards for online gambling and sports betting.
New Rules for Ontario Online Gambling Market
The Ontario government launched iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the AGCO, the state’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission. It also laid out new rules for internet casino games that apply to any operator that wants to run an online casino in Canada.
According to the new regulations for online gaming in Ontario, split-screen and auto-play are entirely banned. Moreover, casinos must guarantee the results of all games are random. No game should give the impression that any skill might impact the outcome. Also, the animation shown when the player wins more than their bet must not be similar to when they win less than their original bet.
Players should always have the opportunity to limit their deposits, and credits are not allowed. Instead, the player’s net position must be displayed in Canadian dollars. The speed of the spins in online slots must not be lower than 2.5 seconds, and any feature that may reduce this is strictly prohibited.
Marketing-wise, gambling ads must not attract potentially high-risk players or minors. It must not be misleading, and all advertisements to market bonus offers are only allowed on operator websites.
All gambling operators must provide responsible gaming policies that experts regularly review. They also have to offer information about problem gambling, self-exclusion, and the potential harm that gambling can cause.
Ontario Licenses Handed to Gambling Operators
The AGCO subsidiary, iGaming Ontario, is responsible for regulating the new gambling market. Multiple big brands were approved to operate in Ontario ahead of the market’s opening. Operators like 888 Casino, Bet365, and PointsBet are allowed to offer online gambling services to Ontario players. Software developers like Play’n Go and Inspired Entertainment are licensed to supply these operators.
Why Is a Regulated Gambling Market Important for Players?
The legal and regulated gambling market is essential for Ontarians for various reasons. The main benefits of this iGaming model for players include protected deposits and withdrawals, guaranteed game fairness, advanced security protocols, and access to a wide range of responsible gambling resources.
The Canadian Gaming Association supports the government’s plans and objectives for the new iGaming model in Ontario. According to the President and CEO Paul Burns, the model would aid the establishment of a well-organized and competitive iGaming market that would offer Ontarians an immersive gaming experience while also protecting their privacy and finances.
With the new rules, a grey market no longer exists in Ontario. Since the industry is now legal and regulated, the province will finally be able to deal with unlicensed operators properly. Also, it will secure revenues from licensed operators. The launch allows Ontarian players to place bets on casino games and various sporting events. They can also perform other gambling activities online through online sites or smartphone applications offered by registered operators.
A New Era for Sports Betting in Ontario
Sports betting fans in Ontario have plenty of reasons to celebrate now. Before the market’s launch, one of the most famous sports betting websites, PointsBet Canada, has been ramping up its marketing efforts.
Although single-game sports betting was legal in Canada for almost a year, the industry fully opened in Ontario at 12:01 a.m. on Monday the 4th of April. Only 50 seconds into the launch, PointsBet announced the first big wager in the province. The NCAA men’s basketball final was a $500 two-leg parlay of Toronto Maple Leafs over the Tampa Bay Lightning and North Carolina over Kansas.
The company has partnered with Curling Canada and several other Canadian teams. It also works closely with the Trailer Park Boys on ads and videos as the regulator prohibits advertisements that include celebrities who primarily entertain minors. In addition, the Canuck comedy group is the host of the site’s VIP launch party in Toronto.
Patrick Eichner from PointsBet said that this launch is vital for a company like theirs. PointsBet is already online and thriving in several US states that have legalized online gambling. According to him, Ontario will be the heart of Canadian sports betting, so first impressions must be strong and positive.
What’s Next for the Online Gambling Market in Ontario
Online gambling is not a novelty in Ontario. However, it always existed on gray market offshore websites and through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which launched its sportsbook last summer. However, the new iGaming market launch will help the province protect players and provide more options.
The growing market also allows for some potentially lucrative revenues. iGaming Ontario still hasn’t announced a figure for official projected income. Nonetheless, experts forecast about C$800 million in revenues only in its first year of existence.