Private internet gambling operators will be able to launch on April 4 in Ontario if they have the relevant regulatory approval. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Strict standards in place
Ontario is set to launch its legal iGaming market on April 4. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s (AGCO) iGaming Ontario (iGO) subsidiary announced the upcoming launch on Friday. Thus, private online gambling operators that are registered with the AGCO and have entered into an operating agreement with the iGO can start to offer online casino games to people in the province in just over two months.
operators that will be launching in Ontario will have been subject to rigorous testing
iGO executive director Martha Otton has reassured people that the iGaming operators that will be launching in Ontario will have been subject to rigorous testing. This includes ensuring that operators meet all standards relating to social responsibility, player protection, integrity, and fairness.
Otton noted that the majority of internet gambling that Ontarians currently engage in takes place on illegal platforms. She believes that the regulated market will “give consumers enhanced entertainment choice, support the growth of a new, legal market and generate revenue that can help fund programs and services that benefit all of us.”
Operators eyeing an attractive market
Following the announcement of the April 4 iGaming launch date, a number of key stakeholders in the sector welcomed the news, including Penn National Gaming CEO and president Jay Snowden and Penn subsidiary theScore’s CEO John Levy. Both men are excited about the upcoming launch and have applauded the various provincial authorities on their work to date.
Ontario is set to become a major iGaming and sports betting market. It would be fifth-largest state by population in the US.
Speaking about the plans to launch theScore Bet online casino, Snowden said that his company is going into a major new market “where we already have an established mobile sports media product in theScore app and a wide base of loyal users.” It looks like theScore Bet could be the initial private operator to get full regulatory approval to launch in the province. It is the only operator to date to have received RG Check iGaming Accreditation from the Responsible Gambling Council.
The road to online gambling expansion
The push to have a legal iGaming market in Ontario has been in the works for some time. Efforts began back in April 2019 when the provincial government in Ontario announced its intention to end the monopoly that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation had on the iGaming sector. The plans to bring in private operators to the industry then gained momentum, with legislation on the matter passing last year. AGCO published its final regulatory standards for iGaming in September.
one of the first Canadian provinces to launch a legal sports betting market
Single-event sports betting became legal in Canada on August 27, 2021, though only provincial lotteries are currently able to offer single-event betting. Ontario looks set to be one of the first Canadian provinces to launch a legal sports betting market. While there is no definitive date for the launch, it is expected to happen in mid-2022.