Ontario government set to move from igaming monopoly to open market

Ontario government set to move from igaming monopoly to open market 850 500 Gambling Consulting Expert

The Canadian 2020 budget includes new legislation to open up the gaming market. Ontario’s government set to introduce new legislation seeking to end the current online gambling monopoly in the Canadian province and open up the market to private operators.

Currently, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is the only license holder that allows them to offer online gambling in the province via its PlayOGA.ca website.

In the last year’s budget plan, the Canadian government proposed to end the monopoly and is moving a step further with the 2020 budget by introducing new legislation to create an open market. Should this legislation pass into law, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) would conduct and manage online gambling activities, as well as serving as regulators for the market.

A dedicated subsidiary under the AGCO would also be established to manage the relationship between the government and private, licensed operators.

The government and the AGCO will continue to consult with key stakeholders on the design of the new-look market to ensure it reflects consumer preferences.

Furthermore, the government aims to encourage the federal government to sanction plans for the single event sports betting legislation across Canada as such as move would support the evolution of its new market.

This week saw the confirmation of a bill that will ultimately revoke existing laws and make it legal for Canadians to bet on a single sporting event. This is to be reintroduced into the Canadian parliament.

The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) hailed the measure, saying this would ensure that people in the province would have access to safe and legal gambling options.

“As we grapple with the economic recovery from novel coronavirus (Covid-19), it will be helpful for Ontario to generate revenue from the licensing and taxation of offshore online operators who qualify to operate in Ontario,” CGA president and chief executive Paul Burns said.

“It will also allow land-based casino operators to access online gaming, enabling them to diversify their entertainment options and interact with customers outside of property walls.”

The Canadian media business, Score Media and Gaming (theScore), were also elated with the news. Chief executive and founder, John Levy, mentioned that this would serve as a significant step closer to a safe and responsible sports betting environment.

“Canada is theScore’s home turf and we are eager to bring our award-winning sportsbook, theScore Bet, to our highly engaged fans across Ontario, a huge market with a population larger than all but four US states,” Levy said.

“We’re also encouraged by the province’s commitment to continue to work with the federal government in their effort to legalize single-event sports wagering in Canada, where legislation to effect this change was debated in the House of Commons earlier this week.”