Law Changes In IGaming in Canada
Canada, despite being considered a haven for gamblers, has been making several changes to the laws governing the gambling industry across the country. The constant change in the laws, often, makes the average person believe online gambling is illegal in the country, but it’s not.
Back in 1985, Canada placed a ban on single-game sports betting for all bookmakers operating in the country. In August 2021, this ban was cancelled by the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act (SRSBA). It is one of the many bans that have been relaxed over the years. However, a survey revealed that less than 20% of Canadians were aware of the law change. This isn’t surprising as most Canadians seek out offshore platforms for their various online gambling activities if a function is not allowed in a certain region or province.
The Changes In iGaming In Canada
To some extent, it can be said that the platforms and games being offered by these offshore operators are hindering the success of the online gaming being offered by the Lottery Corporations (the official gaming authority in Ontario) and other regulating bodies in Canada. This led to the corporation convincing the federal government to amend the Code regulating the iGaming market in Canada to address the offshore online platforms. The regulator of gaming in Ontario, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), made a proposal for change in iGaming in Ontario that will ensure it operates as close to an open market as possible considering the limits brought about by the Code which requires gaming to be managed by the government, not private enterprise.
Back in 2019, the Ontario government revealed its intention to create an online market for iGaming in the province, and it will be competitive and also protective of its consumers. Later, it was revealed that AGCO will be in charge of conducting and managing iGaming, which is in addition to its role as a regulating body. In 2021, AGCO started consulting with members of the iGaming industry as well as the offshore operators.
Ever since things have moved quickly for the Ontario government as AGCO laid the foundation of the structure. Fast forward to 2022, many operators are now allowed to go live in Ontario, but before they can operate legally in the province, they must secure registration with the AGCO and also receive an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario (AGCO’s subsidiary). As of April 2022, several big platforms have agreed to go live with AGCO, platforms like BetMGMOntario (which is a no-brainer), FanDuel Ontario, Unibet, PointsBet, Coolbet, bet365, LeoVegas, theScore, 888, Fitzdares and more.
The above changes can only be applied to the Ontario province. With every province having different governments and regulating bodies, the laws are bound to be different. None of the provinces has shown any indication to follow the footsteps of Ontario, and it is more likely that they will watch how much revenue and market share the Ontario government will be able to pull before following. For now, the iGaming rules in every other province in Canada remain the same with no changes.