Ontario’s Approach to Regulated Online Gambling

Competitive Regulation of Ontario Online Casino and Sports MarketsCompetitive regulation of Ontario online casino and sports market.

The word is out. Canada is looking to legalize sports betting. Not just the multi-pick parlay bets we have access to now, but full-scale, single-event betting. It’s the same thing that’s been rapidly spreading across the legislative books of US states since 2018. The same type of sports betting that’s taken place legally all over Europe and other gaming-friendly regions of the world for decades. If you’ve picked up a newspaper or kept up with online media, you are already aware of this. But did you know Ontario intends to take its online gambling market to the next level?

Competitive Regulation of Ontario Online Casino and Sports Market

On November 5, 2020, just weeks before the federal government held the first reading of Bill C-13, Safe and Regulated Sports Betting, Ontario’s government published its latest budget. Within that verbose document lies a proposal for launching a regulated marketplace for online gambling operations. If passed – and without challenge from federal agencies – it would give Ontario the necessary means of opening Canada’s first regulated, competitive online gaming market.

The measure calls for the creation of a new subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. This new agency would be tasked with the regulation and management of online gambling websites operated by private, third party companies. At the moment, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is the only agency authorized to regulate and manage any form of gambling in the province.

What Competition Brings to the Table

It’s been said countless times by countless figureheads throughout Canada, that the current state of monopolized iGaming occurring in select provinces fails to capitalize on the true market potential. Billions of dollars are flowing to offshore iGaming websites every year. The new sports betting law, if passed, is aimed at solving this problem, but it still leaves Canada without a competitive market.

Since 2015, when the OLG launched its provincial gaming site, citizens have missed out on the advantage of choice, aggressive promotions, and quality assurance that competition brings to all manners of commerce. Under the new model, which will spend the next few months undergoing development, players and operators alike will have access to unprecedented opportunities.

For operators, it represents entry to a virtually untapped multi-billion dollar industry. The transition of international operators from “grey market” to “white market” could have a boundless impact on overall market value. And, of course, it will open the doors to locally legalized and regulated single event sports betting, both online and on land.

What Needs to Happen Next

Of course, none of this will happen unless these two bills get passed. The Canadian government must pass its sports betting bill, and the nation’s most populace province must approve regulation of a competitive Ontario online casino and sports betting market.

The most likely catalyst for passage of both laws is the immense growth rate of land-based and online sports gambling in the US. Since individual states were given the right to legalize sports betting in 2018, about half of them have either passed laws, or have legislation in the works to do so. Already, millions of dollars are pouring into their tax coffers, and it’s all happening in legal, strictly regulated and highly competitive markets.

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