The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario released draft regulatory standards for sports and event betting on Wednesday. They will be allowed in the province’s iGaming market when it allegedly launches later this year.
“The good news is that the AGCO will not be restricting products: betting exchanges, DFS, eSports, and live in-game wagering will all be permitted,” the Canadian Gaming Association said Wednesday. “Also, any operators who want to offer sports betting will not be required to use official league data". The CGA said it has been working with AGCO's Project Director, Sports Betting, to help get the AGCO ready to implement sports betting as the Ontario market prepares to open.
When the draft standards released Wednesday are finalized, they will be inserted into standards for iGaming the AGCO recently released which, with the sports betting guidelines included, will come into force when Ontario launches its iGaming market, which is expected to happen in December.
Under the AGCO’s framework, there would not be a list of approved bets. Instead, there would just be criteria that bets will need to meet to be offered in the province’s upcoming iGaming market.
Those critera include:
The AGCO’s criteria also include that the bet “is not reasonably objectionable,” does not involve cruelty to animals, and that it is being legally conducted.
As the regulator’s standards state, “bets on events which are unethical, allow entertainment to be derived from human suffering or death, or involve non-consensual violence or injury are examples of bets which would be considered to be reasonably objectionable”.
Other sports betting-specific standards released by the AGCO on Wednesday include that players must be “clearly informed” of the details of their bet before making it, such as identifying parlays as parlays. Also, operators can’t allow athletes, coaches, managers, owners, and “anyone with sufficient authority to influence the outcome of an event” to place a bet on games supervised by the governing body for their sport. The same goes for individuals with “access to non-public/exclusive information” about an event, someone who can affect an event's outcome, or the owners of a sports governing body.
The AGCO will also require operators to put in place “controls” to sniff out unusual or suspicious betting activity, and report it to an independent integrity monitor.
“The AGCO understands that land-based operators are also interested in sport and event betting,” the regulator said in a discussion paper that was also released on Wednesday. “As the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) will continue to conduct and manage land-based gaming, including lottery and casino-style sport and event betting, the OLG will work with land-based operators to bring these products to market.”
Ontario’s new iGaming market is also being designed as legal sports wagering, which follows Parliament passing a bill earlier this year that will allow provinces to conduct and manage single-game betting. When the legislation comes into force, it will end the country’s parlay-only model for punters, although it will be left up to each province to decide how (or if) they want single-game betting offered.
Still, the combination of the competitive iGaming market, the legalization of single-game wagering, and the province’s population of more than 14 million people are setting the stage for strong competition among sports-betting companies in Ontario. With its sizable population, the province has the potential to be a market on par with some of the biggest in the United States, such as Illinois or Pennsylvania.