The online gaming community throughout Ontario has been booming in recent years. Not only are more players becoming involved than ever before, but companies are keen to leverage the potential business opportunities. However, it is important to remember that any firm wishing to offer its services must abide by the latest rules and regulations if it hopes to avoid significant penalties. This is when the power of a gambling licence comes into play.
What recent changes have we witnessed in regard to licencing procedures? How will these impact online casinos and sportsbooks? Perhaps most importantly, are these new regulations set to benefit the industry as a whole? Each of these questions is relevant for players and providers alike, so they deserve a closer look.
What Does the Ontario Government Have to Say?
There have been a handful of significant changes in recent times. It can be argued that the most relevant involves the creation of an entirely new Internet gaming market. These primarily revolve around the stipulations put forth by the AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario).
As of 4 April 2022, any firm that wishes to offer online games (such as casino-related platforms) needs to register with the ACGO. This helps to ensure superior levels of compliance and transparency; benefitting players and organisations alike. Furthermore, a provider will also need to be recognised by the Ontario iGaming commission. There are several steps associated with these processes including:
- Signing a non-disclosure agreement.
- Ensuring that all games have been vetted by an Independent Testing Laboratory (ITL).
- Signing a contract with IGO (Internet Gaming Ontario).
- Confirming access with IGO secure data and communication channels.
- Completing all paperwork relating to anti-money laundering practices recognised by the Ontario government.
In other words, gaming providers will need to be recognised by both the AGCO and the IGO if they hope to legally operate within the province of Ontario. Now that we have taken a look at the basic requirements, it is wise to examine how these will affect existing online casinos as well as those which hope to establish a foothold within this marketplace.
Why Have Regulations Changed?
There are several reasons why we are now witnessing a slight paradigm shift throughout Ontario in relation to online gaming licences. Perhaps the most relevant involves the fact that online casinos and sports betting are more popular than ever before. This has resulted in a massive influx of players; leading to possible issues with privacy and transparency.
Secondly, the government is well aware that attractive offers entice individuals who might not be entirely familiar with the online casino industry. One well-known example involves the plethora of Bet365 bonus codes which can be accessed with a single click. While there is no doubt that these are amazing opportunities, Ontario also realises that they can help to generate additional revenue for the province (in the form of capital gains tax on potential winnings). Thus, the associated regulations help to ensure that the entire system continues to run smoothly.
Benefits and Possible Drawbacks
We have already mentioned some of the financial reasons why these new regulations have been enacted. However, what can individual players expect to enjoy? One crucial takeaway point involves transparency and trustworthiness. Online gaming portals that are properly registered with provincial authorities are highly vetted and therefore, users can trust that they are completely fair.
The second takeaway point is associated with online security. Portals that have been recognised by the appropriate authorities have proven that their architecture will not jeopardise the personal details of the players themselves. When we consider the fact that incidences of cyber crime are on the rise, it only stands to reason that players will gravitate towards online casinos that abide by the rules.
Are there any possible downsides? Perhaps the only observation here is that online gaming portals will need to make absolutely certain that their games, software and business model is in full compliance with the stipulations outlined previously. Although this may require a bit of time to confirm, the fact of the matter is that the long-term advantages far outweigh such initial efforts. In terms of logistics, it is also possible to contact the Ontario government to learn more or to address additional questions.
A Sign of Things to Come
The recent regulatory changes witnessed throughout Ontario likewise signal that the Canadian government appreciates the growing importance of the online gaming sector. It is therefore likely that other provinces will take similar steps in the near future. This is excellent news for players, as they can now rest assured in the fact that they are receiving quality products from transparent gaming providers. It will be interesting to see what additional transformations may take place.