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Responsible Gambling Council Applauds Ontario’s iGaming Model

The Responsible Gambling Council has recently applauded how Ontario is regulating Canada’s only open market for online gambling and sports wagering. CEO of the organization, Shelley White has praised the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario for its effort but has also warned against potential complacency in a rapidly growing and changing market.

Ontario wrote history on April 4, 2022, when its market for online gambling and sports betting kicked off operations. In its first full year of work, the completive sector saw over CA$35.6 billion in betting handle which delivered around CA$1.48 billion in gaming revenues. Soon, the province is expected to publish its full report for 2023, as the second anniversary approaches.

Praising Ontario, but More Needs to be Done

In a statement, Ms. White commented that normally a regulator will put new protocols in place and keep them for a decade before adjusting them. However, AGCO has made it a priority that it will monitor the regulations and make changes if required. She added that it is rare for regulators to do that, and praised Ontario for being a leader in responsible gambling.

After significant backlash on the barrage of betting ads during games, in the summer of 2023, the commission announced its decision to ban the use of athletes and celebrities from participating in such commercials in the province. It was a measure to protect youth, who are more susceptible to these gambling promotions. The new standards came into effect on February 28, 2024.

However, Ms. White also remarked that there is still a need for more prevention education, such as increased investment in prevention education programs for youth, young adults, and sports bettors as a whole. This way they will be aware of the available responsible gambling tools and will be able to utilize them for a safer experience while gambling, explained RGC’s CEO.

Currently, online operators in Ontario are also mandated to share a percentage of their marketing budget for responsible gambling advertising. Mr. White supports the idea but believes more is required. She added that the requirements and measures from iGaming Ontario have made a huge difference, but there needs to be a greater investment in the Responsible Internet Gambling Fund.

Lastly, she elaborated that the province needs a commitment from the government that it is going to be annualized since a one-and-done strategy would not work. In her words, it needs to be a multi-year approach as the industry is constantly growing, and therefore the fund must be larger since the base of the player and complexity of the types of bettors is not a homogenous group.

Marketplace Grows Larger

While, RGC is busy developing new strategies to keep Ontarian bettors safe, the province’s iGaming sector keeps getting larger. Just recently, Booming Games, a popular provider of online casino content, announced that it has been awarded a B2B supplier permit from AGCO. Enabling it to deliver its cutting-edge content to other provincially-licensed operators in the region.

Source: “Responsible Gambling Council issues praise, warning for Ontario sports betting marketYahoo, February 28, 2024