Ontario transition period for unregulated online gambling to end on 31 October 2022

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Gambling companies intending to operate in Ontario’s regulated online market must comply with all regulatory requirements from 31 October 2022.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) yesterday confirmed the new cut-off date as the deadline for the transition period, as operators continue to switch from grey to white.

The transition period was created to allow Ontario’s previously unregulated operators and suppliers to apply for and gain a legal licence to operate in the market.

This coincided with the launch of regulated iGaming in the province for the very first time from 4 April 2022.

The transition period was first established to allow operators and suppliers to move into Ontario’s regulated market as seamlessly as possible.

The rule was also designed to limit disruption for consumers. It meant there would be no down time between a company exiting the grey market and becoming fully regulated.

From 31 October 2022, operators and suppliers must cease all unregulated activities if they intend to enter the province on a regulated basis at some point in the future.

The AGCO has been taking registrations from interested companies since September 2021.

Furthermore, operators and suppliers shall not enter into any agreements or arrangements with unregistered parties that provide operators and suppliers with goods or services.

In order to operate legally in Ontario, gaming operators must meet two requirements. First, they must secure registration with the AGCO, and second, they must execute an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario.

After meeting both requirements, operators will be held to the standards as set out under Ontario’s newly launched iGaming regulatory framework.

Yesterday’s update from the AGCO also included information on amended standards for live dealer and live casino games, due to their growing popularity in the province.

“The AGCO has determined that amendments to the Registrar’s Standards are necessary to address the potential risk related to the use of physical gaming equipment (including, among others, roulette wheels and playing cards) and the risk related to the use of live presenters,” said the regulator.

To address this, suppliers will need to comply with two new standards, again by 31 October 2022.

Firstly, gaming systems and supplies must be provided, installed, configured, maintained, repaired, stored and operated in a way that ensures the integrity, safety and security of the gaming supplies and systems.

Secondly, access to live dealer gaming supplies should be restricted to individuals with a business need, such as employment status or job requirements.

Finally, from 4 April 2022, live games must also be approved by the registrar or by an independent testing laboratory as per AGCO’s certification policy, prior to going live.

The amended legislation can be read in full here.

Last month, Entain’s Sports Interaction brand and Pinnacle’s low-margin sportsbook became the latest operators to transition from grey to white with an Ontario licence.

In its first full quarter as a regulated province, Ontario generated C$162m in gaming revenue from overall handle of C$4.1bn. Those figures are expected to grow as more firms become licensed.

About the author

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Jake Evans

Jake Evans is an NCTJ-accredited journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and sports betting industry since 2017. He is the managing editor of iGaming NEXT and has previously worked in both content and data for EGR, Stats Perform and Football Radar.

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