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Ontario Attorney General Says Grey Market Loses Momentum

More than half a year after Ontario introduced its regulated iGaming market, Attorney General Doug Downey says that there is already deterioration of the unregulated one. The province’s chief law officer and the local sports betting regulated believe that the grey market has started to lose momentum, as more and more bettors migrate to the legal one.

Ontario kicked off operations at its new and regulated online gambling and sports betting sector on April 4, 2022. It is overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario which recently confirmed that as of November 2, 2022, a total of 36 operators are up and running in the legal market with even more expected to debut in it in the upcoming weeks.

Grey Market Sees Decrease in Interest

In a recent interview, Mr. Downey said that the province is starting to see the grey and the black-market atrophy, as more and more operators make the shift to the regulated one. Therefore, more and more people are starting to play online on legal websites, which is one of the province’s objectives. In his words, it was heartening to see how the new market has come to fruition.

The regulator of the market, the AGCO, reports to the Attorney General’s ministry, also shared that it introduced a transition process which would allow for previous grey-market operators to become legal without losing their pre-existing player base. But in order to join the regulated market, gaming brands need a registration from AGCO and an operating agreement from iGaming Ontario.

AGCO’s transition period kicked off in September 2021, but even after the launch of the iGaming market on April 4, 2022, some operators continued to operate in the grey sector. That is why in October the regulator issued a new standard which required operators to go legal in the market before the October 31, 2022 deadline. Then 17 operators left the unregulated market two days prior to the deadline.

Still, despite the request, some operators continue their work in the grey market and may not have plans to go legal. AGCO said that it will take appropriate regulatory action for non-compliance, including enforcement protocols. It will also work in unison with law enforcement, the province, and international regulators to address remaining unregulated operations.

Q2 Report on the Market

In October, AGCO issued its second-quarter report on the provincial internet market. From July 1 through September 30, 2022, 24 operators and 42 gaming websites contributed to a total wagering handle of the impressive CA$6.04 billion. This betting volume translated to CA$267 million in revenue for the province and licensed gaming brands.

Also, in its report, the regulator pointed out that there were approximately 628,000 active user accounts in the said quarter. They had an average monthly spend of CA$142 per customer. It is expected that volume will only grow larger as in September many major leagues returned to action, and the FIFA 2022 World Cup is scheduled to start in November.