Online gambling is finally about to become legal in Ontario with the launch of the iGaming market on 4 April 2022. Thus far Ontario is already seen as North America’s fifth-largest gambling market. Many online casinos are applying for licensing, and it is suggested that this province is encouraging Canadian online gaming providers to take part in some healthy competition.
At the current time, there are already 14 online casinos registered with AGCO but there are 30 internet gaming operators that have applied for licensing. The good news is that in less than a month Ontario residents will no longer have limited gaming options.
Currently, they only have access to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp’s land-based and online casinos.
Things you need to know about the new Ontario iGaming Market
The new Ontario iGaming market officially launches on the 4th of April 2022. The AGCO finalised rules and regulations for the new market in September 2021.
The newly regulated iGaming market comes with various rules and requirements that apply not just to the operators and software providers but to the players as well.
Anyone who wants to play games at online casinos or land-based casino establishments needs to be at least 19 years or older. You can however start taking part in the provincial lottery and sports betting options if you are 18 years of age. Gambling activities such as online slots are only accessible to those 19 and older.
The new online gaming market in Ontario is quickly becoming one of the biggest and most competitive in North America. Already 30+ operators are trying to get their hands on licensing to operate. Ultimately there will be plenty of options for players to choose from.
As an online casino player, you will have the opportunity to create an account with any of the licensed operators from anywhere within the province. However, you will not be able to register or play when you are travelling or found outside the borders. Different rules and regulations apply everywhere and once you leave Ontario you no longer have access to the regulated gaming market.
There are plenty of legal gaming options available for Canada here which include online slots, table games, the lottery, and sports betting. However, the legislation is already considering responsible gambling and restricting some features on several games. This includes banning the Autoplay feature on slots and amending the speed on spins to a minimum of 2.5 seconds per spin. There is also no more split screenplay available. This means there will be no more dual games, only singular games.
As part of AGCO’s regulatory responsibility, they assess all online casino operators who apply for licensing within the state. All operators are subject to register and comply with the Gaming Control Act, 1992. The industry is licensed and regulated by AGCO – iGaming Ontario which forms part of AGCO. It will regulate all third-party online casino gambling within the province. The gambling industry as a whole is regulated by AGCO.
Several online casino operators and sportsbooks have already received their licensing approval. It is said that over 30+ operators have applied in hopes of getting to enter this brand new iGaming market.
License application procedure
Any iGaming operators that want to serve players in the newly established Ontario iGaming market need to apply for licensing. The licensing procedure is simple, and all submissions will be reviewed by AGCO – iGaming Ontario.
All licensees will get to choose between a one or two-year term option when applying for their license. All operators will have to pay CA$100,000 per year for their online casino licenses. Like many other strict iGaming markets such as Sweden, the rule is that any operator wishing to operate within the province needs to stop operating illegally immediately.
With the application process, all operators will need to provide AGCO with a range of supporting documents which includes all necessary information for a thorough assessment.
- Operator Application
- Standards Gap Analysis
- Personal Disclosure
- Entity Disclosure
- Regulatory fee
- Investigation fee (Upon Request)
- Supporting documents
These are all required for iGaming Ontario to start processing your licensing application. Supporting documentation can include several things including partnership agreement, details of shares, and more.
Only those who have been reviewed and approved for licensing will be allowed to operate within Ontario with the opening of the market.
Types of AGCO licenses
AGCO currently has two different classes of registration that apply to those working or supplying products to the internet gaming sector within Ontario.
Anyone who wishes to enter the sector within Ontario needs to apply for licensing. This includes:
Operators: Anyone who wants to operate a commercial gaming site within Ontario needs to acquire a license.
Gaming-related suppliers: Any suppliers who want to provide, install, test, maintain or repair gaming equipment must have licensing to do so.
Online casino operators that hold a license within Ontario Canada will be required to pay tax on gaming revenue.
For players, there is no taxation on winnings unless you are found to be a professional gambler. If you are gambling as a recreational activity, then your winnings are exempt from taxes.
The primary focus of iGaming Ontario
The new gaming market in Ontario is strictly regulated by iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of AGCO. Their primary focus is to protect the public and ensure responsible gambling.
Responsible gambling is the main focus which means the goal is to ensure all operators prioritise this and have several tools available to support responsible gameplay among players. This includes the option to self-exclude.
Fair Gaming is another primary focus where the gaming commission makes sure that all games operate as they are designed and that the outcomes are random and fair.
Then there is the drive to prevent any possible crimes including money laundering. There are systems in place to ensure any criminal elements or activities are detected and deterred.
Ontario also has a strict no underage gambling policy with checks in place to ensure no players under a certain age can register or play at online casinos.
The best security measures are put in place to protect personal information and ensure it is kept private.
Ontario is very adamant about creating a safe and secure gaming environment for all who enter the iGaming industry. Throughout the creation of the new legislation, responsible gaming has been one of the primary focus points. Operators are expected to be fully transparent and provide players with the necessary tools they need to enjoy a safe gaming experience while maintaining control over their online journey. Any providers who do not comply with responsible gaming regulations will not receive licensing.
Furthermore, PlaySmart is there to provide problem gambling resources, access to a toll-free helpline as well as a number of helpful guides on gambling to anyone who may need it.
Ontario sports betting
One of the most exciting things about the new iGaming market is that many of the new operators entering the market will have a sportsbook accessible. This includes leading sportsbooks such as FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, and TheScore. Some of these have already locked in their licensing to ensure players have access the moment the market opens.
Daily fantasy sports are just as popular in Ontario, Canada, and operators such as Fanduel and DraftKings have been leading the way for years. With the newly regulated market, you can expect even more DFS operators to enter the market in the months to come.
Top online casinos regulated in Ontario
The iGaming markets in Ontario are not yet open but already a number of the top online casinos and sportsbooks have obtained licensing to launch along with the new iGaming market.
Here are some of the operators that are licensed to operate in Ontario
- LeoVegas: This industry-leading online casino comes with a great range of games, superb customer support, and fabulous bonuses.
- TheScore: This is an easy-to-use Canadian sportsbook with plenty of in-game betting options and great odds.
- PointsBet: A reputable online sportsbook with great odds and betting options on a secure platform.
- 888 Casino: This is another industry leader with a great range of games and a competitive sports betting vertical for players to enjoy.