OLG, AGCO and Ontario casino operators ensure fairness of slot machines.
In Ontario, slot machines are the greatest source of gambling revenue. A virtual font of wealth, they generate millions of dollars every month, filling the provincial exchequer before spilling over into the coffers of their respective host municipalities. In part, their popularity is attributable to a positive degree of trust between players and those responsible for ensuring the fairness of each game.
It’s not a single entity that takes on this formidable task. There are three such parties in charge of Ontario’s gaming oversight. They do not work in tandem, exactly, but rather like a gradual chain of command. If one link in the chain becomes weak, he must answer to the next higher link in the chain, who can either support the weak link, or banish it from the chain.
Esoteric metaphors aside, let’s take a closer look at how these three groups are working to safeguard your experience when playing Ontario slot machines.
Fairness of Slot Machines in Hands of Casinos, OLG and AGCO
The three entities of which I speak are the private companies that operate Ontario’s many casinos, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG), which regulates the activities within each casino, and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which oversees the OLG and holds it responsible for its actions.
Think of these groups like a standard work environment. The casinos are the office workers. The OLG represents their boss, the department head. AGCO is the CEO of the company. As we all know, the CEO pays no attention to what the office workers are doing—that’s why department heads exist. If a department is failing, its boss takes the blame.
The Casino’s Role in Maintaining Fair Slot Machines
Being the low man on the totem pole, the casino operator must follow the rules of the OLG, setting their slot machines to pay out at or above the OLG’s mandatory minimum of 85% return to player (RTP). Most will choose a higher, more competitive rate, with the average being 92-93%. They must also maintain regular upkeep on their machines to confirm they are functioning properly, and submit monthly win/loss reports to the OLG.
The OLG’s Role in Upholding Provincial Law
Ontario’s gaming regulator monitors the casino operators to ensure all rules set forth by the AGCO are being followed. The OLG will review all incoming reports from casinos to make sure the mandated 85% slots RTP is being met. If any errors or suspicious activity arises, the OLG must deal with it swiftly, reprimanding or fining the casino at fault and stepping in to personally oversee the problem is resolved.
The AGCO’s Role in Oiling the Machine
The AGCO is the body that sets all of the regulatory rules for gaming in the province. It’s not often the AGCO has to get directly involved in OLG matters. So long as the OLG is doing its job, and the casinos are performing to the province’s expectations, the AGCO won’t do anything more than its usual job of conducting regular inspections of casino properties and reviewing the consistent flow of reports coming in from the OLG. If those reports are incongruent, or if a problem is detected by inspectors, then they will step in. The AGCO is not a polite commanding officer. It demands a well-oiled machine, and when gears begin to grind, it will come down with a heavy hand upon whoever is at fault.
Trusting the Integrity of Ontario Slot Machines
For decades, Ontario’s gaming market has been operating with no significant conflict between these three groups. As such, locals and visitors alike can enjoy the province’s many casinos with the confidence that the fairness of slot machines is being upheld on all levels.