Ontario’s Opening To The Online Casino Market
Slot machines, online roulette, video poker, blackjack, or live baccarat are all played at an online casino. All this is obviously subject to very strict regulations to protect Internet users.
In Canada, regulation is not nationalised but each province can decide the fate of online gambling operators independently. The province of Ontario has just made a change in its regulation in December 2020.
A change In Regulation
To date, Canada’s regulated online market has been limited to government-run online casinos operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), as well as similar agencies operating in British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Alberta, and New Brunswick.
The AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) and the Ontario Ministry of Finance must determine the commercial arrangements that will be made between private gaming operators and the Ontario government.
A Properly Regulated System
The AGCO has already conducted extensive research on international jurisdictions to ensure that regulatory measures are consistent with the rest of the international measures while setting a standard for Ontario to meet.
It is important that Ontario’s tax rate be sufficiently competitive with other international markets.
Similarly, initial market entry fees must be modest enough to attract small operators, so that Ontario can capture as much of the existing offshore market as possible.
The idea is to get many players into a properly regulated market.
Another key question is whether Ontario’s new regulatory model will spread across Canada.
Paul Burns, head of the Canadian Gaming Association, said that until now, other Canadian provinces have taken a “watching brief” on Ontario’s plans, but are now paying closer attention since the budget bill was passed in December.
It is possible that two or more provinces could combine to allow Ontario operators to offer online gambling elsewhere in Canada.
Burns says it would be surprising if other Canadian provinces did not follow this Ontario initiative. Indeed, they all face the challenge of reducing the grey market in gambling and the only viable solution seems to be to create clear regulation.