Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has given her verdict on the province’s upcoming igaming and sports wagering market. On Wednesday, the official has posted a report in which she reviews the legalities of the new gaming model which is on course to be launched early in 2022. The notion is to have the new market up and running before the next Super Bowl.
According to the President of the Canadian Gaming Association, Paul Burns, the new market for private gaming operators should open early in the first months of 2022. He also claims the responsible entities for the market the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario are working as hard as they can to ensure the imminent launch.
In her 15-pages report, Ms. Lysyk examines the legality of the province’s gaming regime under the Criminal Code, the governance structure for online gaming, and the fairness and integrity of digital wagering in Ontario. The Auditor General has outlined several issues in the model and advises the government to review them before officially opening the market.
Her first recommendation is to address the legal risks related to the suggested construct for online gaming in the province. Her office advice is for the government to take appropriate steps to ensure compliance with the Criminal Code before the launch. To which Ontario responded that it will take steps to address any legal for the framework if the province deems necessary.
Then there is the second recommendation which is for the provincial government to assess the governance and regulatory risks associated with the new model. She suggests that the Ministry of the Attorney General removes the governance and responsibilities for iGaming Ontario from the AGCO and if the model of iGaming Ontario meets the conduct requirements to transfer the reporting relationship.
Ms. Lysyk is also particularly worried about the responsibilities the government has bestowed on the private operators. She elaborates that the new gaming model’s key responsibilities to maintain integrity and fairness have been given to the private sector. This includes direct testing of internet gaming systems, game design, determination of payouts, and odd fixing.
Last but not least, the auditor raised some concerns about the governance structure of iGaming Ontario and how the regulator will guarantee the integrity and fairness of games. To this, the province responded that AGCO has already developed standards for the iGaming market to ensure integrity. The province also reminds that an independent lab will be testing and certifying all online products.
Recently, a study on Ontario’s new open gaming market, suggested that the jurisdiction could be one of the largest ones for online gaming in North America. According to Bonusfinder.com’s newest Index results, based on several indicators, once Ontario launches the market, the province will be breaking all kinds of iGaming records and it will blow the competition away. The research also projects that the market will also outperform the New Jersey one which is one of the most prosperous on the continent.
Source: “Office of the Auditor General of Ontario”, Auditor.on.ca, December 2021