Casino News

Is Ontario’s New iGaming Market Delayed?

Newest reports coming from Ontario are that the highly-anticipated open iGaming market for private operators may be delayed. According to the reports, the delay would see the launch of the new regime in the middle of February, thus missing out on this year’s Grey Cup or even the next Super bowl. Therefore, gamblers will have to continue wagering on the provincial platforms.

Initially, Ontario’s plan was to launch its new competitive market before the end of this year, however, the process did not go according to plan. There has been plenty of interest in the market among industry-leading brands on the continent, who believe that the province could turn out to be one of the largest jurisdictions for mobile sports betting.

Legal Formalities

Now, according to the emerging reports, it is expected that the gaming regulators of Ontario will delay the launch of the new market. This is due to bureaucratic obstacles in the finalization of the terms and structure of the model. The official launch could arrive in the middle of February, and therefore it can miss the Super Bowl, which is one of the biggest sporting events on the continent.

Two unnamed sources claim that the start of the new iGaming model has been extended due to policies remaining outstanding around issues such as game conditions, data management, and security requirements. The delay is also creating uncertainty among operators who intended to apply for a spot and invest in the market, now they will need time to adjust their systems.

Brian Gray, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General, refused to provide a concrete timeframe for the launch of the new market. However, he assured that the government continues its efforts internally with potential operators to ensure that iGaming Ontario, the regulator of iGaming operations in the province, and the gaming brands will be ready for the new regime.

Currently, regulated online wagering in the province is only available via Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s mobile platform, which is the Crown agency that oversees land-based gambling. However, for online wagering, the responsibility has been entrusted to the newly-formed entity iGaming Ontario, which is a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Auditor General’s Review

The news about the delay comes right after the provincial Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has given her verdict on the new iGaming model. Her office released a report, in which, she reviews the legalities of the new expansion in the province, and she outlined several issues in the model. She raised concerns about guarantees for the integrity and fairness of games that will come with the new operators.

Potential Candidates

One of the major gaming brands that is eyeing launch in Ontario’s newly regulated market for private operators is FansUnite. Last month, the company has even filed its application for a license to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission. If the gaming leader is approved, it will be branded as a fully registered gaming-related supplier. However, the competition is quite fierce and remains to be seen whether the company would be able to receive such a license.

Source: Dobby, Christine “Ontario’s new online gambling market delayed until mid-February, sources tell the Star”,  Toronto Star, December 8, 2021