This week was an important one for Ontario and its new internet gambling market. On October 31, 2022, the transitional period for iGaming operators to become legal in the province came to a conclusion. Gaming brands and websites that are yet to be online in the regulated market, may find themselves falling out of grace with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
The market is regulated by AGCO and its subsidiary iGaming Ontario, and so far, they have been criticized for their tolerance of grey-market operations months after the launch of the regulated one. However, the regulator has decided to take some measures, and set the end of October 31, 2022, as the last chance for operators to go regulated.
The Transition Period is Over
At the start of October, when AGCO set the end of the month as a deadline, the regulator warned that there could be consequences for operators who continue to operate in the grey market. The commission stated that there could be financial penalties for those operators, and also that they could lose the chance of eventually becoming licensed in the province.
In a statement, the regulator asserted that it will take appropriate regulatory measures against any registrant that does not comply with the new Standard when it comes into play on October 31, 2022. The commission explained that registered operators that continue to operate in the unregulated market will be required to cease their unlawful operations.
Since the announcement of the transitional deadline, several iGaming names have made the switch. This includes Pinnacle and just recently Bet99. Still, it remains to be seen whether the AGCO would be able to do anything if operators simply refuse to join the provincially-run sector. The regulator is yet to provide any details on such a scenario.
However, it must be noted there is already a gaming operator that does not want to disregard AGCO’s new Standard. It is BetRegal, and the company said it will stop accepting wagers from anyone in Ontario, while it awaits to finalize all regulatory details and become part of the “white” market. The company does not have a registration yet, which means that it could take a while.
The Market’s Q2 Results
In October, AGCO published its second-quarter financial report on the internet gambling and sports betting market. For the period of July 1 through September 30, 2022, the local market generated a total wagering handle of CA$6.04 billion and over CA$267 million in gaming revenue. This does not include OLG’s PROLINE+ brand, which is run separately.
During the said quarter, the market had a total of 24 operators and 42 gaming websites that were online in the province and were taking bets. According to the report, the quarter had 628,000 active user accounts, which is a significant improvement on Q1’s number. In addition to that, the province also reported that users had an average monthly spend of CA$142 per customer.
Source: Zochodne, Geoff “‘Transition Period’ for Ontario Sports Betting Sites Ends, With Operators Put On Notice” Covers, November 1, 2022