On Tuesday, the Ontario government said that it is creating a new entity to manage online gaming, including the recently approved single-game sports betting in the country, and that it hoped enterprises will be taking bets by the end of the year.
iGaming Ontario will be a new subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and will conduct and manage new online gaming offerings in the province. The subsidiary will operate independently of the AGCO, with its own staff and board of directors but will still be regulated by the AGCO. iGaming Ontario is expected to be up and running by December, the province said, but it did not say who will run the new entity.
In a statement, Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey called the creation of the new entity a “pivotal milestone in our work to ensure people have access to a safe and regulated online gaming market” and said he hopes it will establish Ontario as a “world leader” in the industry.
The launch of iGaming Ontario is a pivotal milestone in our work to ensure people have access to a safe/regulated online gaming market by end of year. We are determined to make ON a world leader in building a safe online gaming environment that meets consumer expectations. pic.twitter.com/2ivnF4bwd5— Doug Downey (@douglasdowney) July 6, 2021
“We are determined to work with industry, responsible gaming advocates, and regulatory partners to ensure Ontario is a world leader in building a safe online gaming environment that meets consumer expectations,” Downey said.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), which manages draws such as Lotto 649 and LottoMax in Ontario, will continue to conduct and manage its own online offerings through its website.
The province is hoping to lure potential gamblers away from unregulated and illegal “grey market" websites and to generate revenue at the same time by establishing a legal framework. Danish consultant Birgitte Sand is leading the project.
The province released a discussion paper on the future of online gaming in Ontario and was collecting public feedback until mid-April. “The government, along with Ontario’s iGaming Commercial Project Lead, Birgitte Sand, will continue to meet with the iGaming industry, First Nations communities and organizations, and social responsibility groups to finalize the setup and rules for the new marketplace,” the province said on Tuesday.
According to the province, Ontarians spend close to $1 billion a year on online gambling with an estimated 70% taking place on unregulated, grey market websites.
Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, said: “Ontario’s new legal iGaming market will create new opportunities for Ontario businesses and a better, safer gaming experience for players.”