Ontario’s regulator has ended the Canadian province’s transition period for unregulated iGaming operators and gaming-related suppliers. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) had introduced the transition process for existing unregulated stakeholders to move into the regulated market, which was launched back in April, “without causing significant interruption to their Ontario customer base.”
“These changes support the province’s overall goal of creating a safer, competitive and well-regulated internet gaming (iGaming) market for the people of Ontario,” AGCO noted. The new policy has been introduced as an update to the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, following the completion of industry-wide consultations.
The transition process was part of AGCO’s key objective to move iGaming operators and gaming-related suppliers into Ontario’s regulated market “as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.” Now that it has ended, the new standard establishes that stakeholders currently active in the unregulated market in Ontario must end their activities "to avoid jeopardizing their eligibility for registration.”
This requirement extends to applicants for registration in Ontario’s iGaming scheme, AGCO noted. In order to provide affected operators and gaming-related suppliers with sufficient time to comply with this new policy, Standard 1.22 will come into force on October 31, 2022.
“Operators and gaming-related suppliers must cease all unregulated activities if, to carry out those same activities in iGaming Ontario’s regulated online lottery scheme, it would require registration under the GCA,” Standard 1.22 reads.
Additionally, the standard mandates operators and gaming-related suppliers shall not enter into any agreements or arrangements with any unregistered person who is providing the operator or gaming-related supplier with any goods or services “if, to provide those goods and services in iGaming Ontario’s regulated online lottery scheme, it would require registration under the GCA.”
The AGCO has also announced amendments to its standards on Live Casino games, which the regulator claims have grown in popularity since the market launch in April. “The AGCO has determined that amendments to the Registrar’s Standards are necessary to address the potential risk related to the use of physical gaming equipment (including roulette wheels and playing cards) and the risk related to the use of live presenters,” the commission said.
The amendments will also come into force as of October 31st, with the exception of an update to standard 4.08, which will come into force six months from now, on April 4, 2023, in order to give operators and suppliers enough time to get their equipment certified. More information will be communicated to registrants “in the coming weeks.”
Starting October 31, gaming systems and supplies “shall be provided, installed, configured, maintained, repaired, stored, and operated in a way that ensures the integrity, safety and security” of said gaming supplies and systems. Additionally, access to live dealer gaming supplies “shall be restricted to individuals with a business need.”
“Access privileges are granted, modified, and revoked based on employment status and job requirements and all activities associated with these actions logged,” said AGCO. “Access privileges are independently reviewed and confirmed on a periodic basis.” Additionally, operators must have controls in place “to ensure live dealer game presenters do not compromise the integrity of a game.”
The change to become effective as of April 2023 states all iGaming games, random number generators and components of iGaming systems that accept, process, determine outcome of, display, and log details about player bets, including any subsequent modifications, “must either be approved by the Registrar or certified by an independent testing laboratory registered by the Registrar,” as per the AGCO’s ITL Certification Policy.