While the Canadian federal criminal code, commonly referred to as the ‘Code’, strictly prohibits all types of gambling, there is an exception, outlined in section 207. This exception allows provincial governments to ‘conduct and manage’ gaming withing their own province. Therefore, once granted this authority, most provinces established specialized governmental bodies. There are often referred to as Lottery Corporations, whose exclusive responsibility is to conduct and supervise gambling within their jurisdiction. Ontario is one such province that followed this approach. Jama.ca brings you this exclusive guide.
Launched in April 2022, one of the primary objectives of Ontario’s iGaming market was to create a safe and responsible environment. This led to the establishment of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and later the iGaming Ontario (IGO). These two companies have the responsibility to regulate and manage the gaming marker.
Online casinos in Ontario operate differently than the rest of Canada, and casino operators must follow certain restrictions in order to be completely legal. For example, there are specific laws about what is and what is not allowed to be advertised by the providers.
One of the key benefits of Ontario’s market is the rule which states that there is no limit to the number of private gaming operators that can compete in this province. More and more operators are joining each day, and the iGaming scene keeps expanding.
Ontario is also offering a regulated alternative to the platforms available prior to 2021. As a result, there is now a new thriving market where more companies are trying to firmly establish themselves. There is also an expanded array of service providers, game options, payment methods, and more.
Because of the stricter regulations, Ontario’s gambling industry is more tightly controlled, which could be seen as a plus for the players. While regulated site are required to pay you your winnings, unregulated sites may choose not to do so. Your personal information and banking details may also be in danger if you choose to play on an untrusted site, whereas the regulated ones provide the necessary protection.
Another benefit of the regulations is the fairness of the games. Online casinos, working under these regulations, are obliged to offer only tested and fair games. They also have to provide Responsible Gaming tools on their website.
The Know Your Customer (KYC) system in another important aspect of Ontario’s market. This system is used to verify the identity of players, ensuring they are of legal age to participate in gambling activities. KYC can also be used to prevent fraud and money laundering.
Ontario’s gambling market has been rapidly expanding and its innovative practices have grabbed the attention across Canada. It is considered a complex market to enter, due to the long list of regulations. Nevertheless, other provinces can learn and translate Ontario’s practices and bring them to their markets. In order to do this, a thoughtful and adaptable approach is necessary. Every province has its unique economic conditions and factors to be considered.
Other provinces should consider expanding their list of regulations or reestablish their regulatory bodies. Ontario’s model can serve as a template and the rest of the markets can customise their laws. This may include licencing requirements or specific measures to protect players.
Player protection is a big part of Ontario’s gambling regulations. There are strict measures to prevent underage gambling, enforce self-exclusion policies, and ensure fairness of the games. Other provinces can also add this to their regulations and ensure a safer gaming experience. This will attract more new players and new casino providers will be willing to join the market.
Provinces can establish a regulated market that benefits operators and players by permitting third party providers to offer online gaming services. Not regulating the number of private gaming operators, like Ontario does, is also going to expand the market even further. The profits that may be made from the gambling industry also offers a source of economic growth for the other Canadian provinces.
At the end of the day, Ontario can offer some good examples to other Canadian provinces to follow. By prioritising gamer protection, expanding the market, and supporting local businesses at the same time, Ontario’s market has created a blueprint for the development of better online casinos. Other provinces in the country can also create a more responsible and thriving gaming environment, by adapting similar strategies.