Ontario Finalizes Sports Betting Regulation with Updated Guidelines

As Canada is experiencing a renaissance of sports betting operations, individual provinces are still coming to terms with the rules they want to issue to guarantee fair play for consumers and businesses. 

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has come up with a final draft of its iGaming and sports betting regulation which will allow fixing some ambiguities around advertisement and integrity. It will also allow more companies to compete in the province and not have to worry about too much red tape.

Canada Revamps Sports Betting Rules for Private Operators

After Canada decided to go from a parlay betting system to one that includes single-betting options, the AGCO is now coming to terms with some of the subtler aspects of this big change, including clearer definitions for betting types that involve teasers and exchanges, which are somewhat new to Canadians, at least in the regulated market.

Operators, though, will need to prove that they play by the rules by signing up contracts with registered independent integrity monitors that are capable of weighing in disputes and objectively assess whether an operator is providing consumers with fair conditions. 

An age for accessing sports betting events has been established, and certain types of bets pertaining to finances have been prohibited. Ontario’s watchdog would also enforce stricter rules when it comes to promoting bonuses and other incentives.

The words “free” and “risk-free” will be subject to additional scrutiny in a similar fashion as in the United Kingdom and the Nordics. For example, these “risk-free” wagers may not be promoted as such unless they are certifiably such, although this could lead to other issues such as the nature of free bets. 

Starting today, applicants can obtain a license by applying to the AGCO and undergoing a reviewing process. The finalized standards are the result of extensive stakeholder feedback as sports betting regulations were originally introduced in July. 

Demand for Sports Betting Is Huge in Ontario and Canada 

Ontario still operates sports betting through its lottery as it prepares to launch a broader market where private companies can get a share as long as they stick to pre-agreed conditions, which are part of their licensing arrangements. 

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has already handled over $800,000 in its first week of operation, or over a million Canadian dollars, pointing to the pent-up demand for sports betting in the province. 

International Betting Integrity Association CEO Khalid Ali welcomed the revamped regulation and said that it offered a “balanced and proportionate approach” to the industry’s integrity. 

“In particular, the recognition of the benefits from operators being part of an integrity monitoring system. IBIA and its members look forward to working with the AGCO and wider Canadian stakeholders to protect sporting events and regulated betting markets from potential corruption,” Ali added in an official AGCO press statement. 

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