This section of our site is dedicated to the latest events and announcements in the gambling industry and the iGaming market of Ontario and Canada in general. Here you will learn about the legalization of the casino games market in the province and beyond, the issuance of new licenses, the launch of new legal casinos, new releases and much more. So, keep your finger on the pulse of the Ontario gambling industry.
After Launching iGaming Market in Ontario, Experts Express their Concerns
As you know, on April 4, the Ontario provincial government took another important step towards the legalization of the gambling industry by launching a new online gaming market. This online entertainment market includes e-sports betting platforms and online casino operators.
In a press release from the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) subsidiary iGaming Ontario (IGO), the organization announced new standards for local gambling sites.
Leaders have already appeared in the new gambling market. Toronto-based Rivalry, for example, has already welcomed the new changes and expressed hope for a successful future.
“Prior to the launch of the iGaming market, we could not legally offer our product to our customers,” – says brand CEO Steven Saltz. “This is a new blank sheet for us. In addition, we have some advantages.”
However, while online casino brands are celebrating the official government decision, many experts and market observers are expressing concern. In addition to the unclear prospects for regular casino sites, they also talk about a possible aggravation of problem gambling due to even more access to online games.
This event is not something new for Ontario. As you know, the province has long been taking steps to legalize the gambling market. According to statistics, Ontario players spend approximately $500 million annually on online games. Almost all the money goes to the sites of casino brands that are located outside the province.
Prior to the launch of the official marketplace, all these external platforms were not subject to local regulations and laws. Now, all private casinos admitted to the provincial market will have to register and regularly pay tax to the local budget.
In addition to the investment flow to the Ontario budget, the new iGaming market should become an alternative to the existing “grey market” of gambling entertainment. As well, its launch will help protect local players at the legal level.
IGO said in a statement: “The newly introduced measures will help improve existing rules and laws, enforce them, and contribute to the fight against money laundering.”
As Ontario became the first Canadian province to implement this kind of system, some industry experts expressed their concerns.
By some estimates, the launch of an official online gaming market could cut the province’s annual budget by $550 million. Over the next five years, the amount of losses could reach $2.8 billion. This was discussed in the report of the Canadian gambling consulting company.
Great Canadian Gaming CEO Tony Rodio noted that casino operators that have registered in the iGaming market would pay significantly less tax compared to regular land-based operators. This is only 20 per cent of their income, while gambling establishments pay 55 per cent.
“This is perhaps the only province, not only in Canada but in all of North America, where iGaming casinos have some kind of tax advantage,” – says the expert. According to his forecasts, such an advantage will cause players from ordinary gambling establishments to move to the online space.
At the same time, Salz of Toronto-based Rivalry noted that online players are very different from land-based casino visitors. He is confident that lower taxes will help online legal sites compete with offshore casino sites that do not pay a single cent to the local budget.
Many experts are concerned about the more accessible gambling market. According to them, this could lead to more casino-addicted games.
Chanel Larsh, a member of the University of Gibraltar’s Center for Responsible Gaming Excellence, believes that the decision to make the market more accessible must be accompanied by more measures to limit the money and time Canadians spend on casino sites.
Nigel Turner, an expert on problem gambling at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), notes that online sites now need to provide more detailed information about gambling addiction and preventive measures.
“When people get even more access to objects that can cause addiction, these are alcohol, drugs and gambling, you need to be prepared for an increase in the number of addicts,” – the expert says. In his opinion, players often have problems with gambling simply because they do not have enough information.
iGaming Launch in Ontario Makes off Pandemic Losses: BLG
After the official launch of the online gambling entertainment market in Ontario, many financial analysts started talking about the positive impact of this decision.
Cameron McDonald, a co-chair of the national law practice group at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, believes that the new legal status will lead to an increase in consumers in the gambling market and, therefore, will lead to an increase in capital.
He predicts that this influx of capital into the local budget will help the province escape the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
As you know, iGaming Ontario (IGO), which is a subsidiary of the Ontario Alcohol and Gambling Commission (AGCO), on April 4, announced the introduction of new standards for gambling sites. Now private casino brands that have received the appropriate permission from AGCO and IGO can offer their services to residents of Ontario.
As McDonald says, we are witnessing the birth of a unique sector that will give the province many new jobs. “This is the first time in Canadian history that private operators can now enter the Ontario gambling market and provide their services to provincial players.”
However, some industry observers are concerned that the official iGaming market will have a negative impact on the number of visitors to physical casinos. This will cause a drop in demand and a decrease in the number of jobs. However, McDonald says these are false fears. According to experts’ forecasts, the launch of iGaming Ontario will create almost 1,295 new jobs in the industry.
McDonald also hopes that seeing positive trends, other provinces in Canada will follow the example of Ontario and launch a similar iGaming market. “This decision by the provincial government is projected to bring billions of dollars of additional capital into the budget.”
All brands that want to be included in the iGaming list go through the registration process on the official AGCO site. The organization provides guidance and all necessary compliance information. In order to get registration without problems and as soon as possible, according to McDonald, casino brands need to seek legal advice from specialists.
The Future of Online Gambling Platforms in Canada
Many casino sites in the international market are operators based in Canada – a country famous for its rapidly growing online gambling market. However, the legislative landscape of the online gambling industry is still unclear.
Due to the large income that the online casino market regularly brings to the Canadian budget, the government has always been more loyal to casino brands. As a result, every year, the online gambling market in Canada shows positive growth trends.
Throughout the Canadian gambling market history, many changes have occurred. Some of them had negative consequences for the industry; some had a more positive impact. Nevertheless, all these changes give an idea of where the market is heading and what its prospects are.
Online Gambling in Canada
Due to the tightening of some laws and regulations, as well as the closure of many land-based casinos, online operators have become more popular among Canadian gamblers. For this reason, many gambling establishments have begun to transfer their business to the Internet.
The surge in activity of online casino sites fell at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the lockdown, all physical casinos have closed. But when the pandemic began to decline, the situation did not change dramatically. Players who switched to online games realized that it was convenient and got used to spending their free time this way, without leaving home.
The sports betting industry has also undergone significant changes in recent years. During the pandemic, many important sporting events were postponed or cancelled. Therefore, many bookmakers in Canada were going through hard times and saw a significant decline in revenue. However, today the sphere has recovered and continues to gain momentum.
In terms of legislation, 2021 has played an important role in the sports betting industry. In some Canadian provinces, the government has legalized betting on certain sports. So now fans of excitement can bet on the outcome of the game and are not afraid that they are breaking the law.
Virtual Reality and Gambling
The Canadian gambling industry is successfully implementing the latest technologies and trends. In recent years, competition between online operators has grown, so they are trying to come up with new and new entertainment for players. For example, some casino brands are working on games with virtual reality technology. This makes it possible for a few minutes to be transferred to a real gambling hall.
Even though these changes require a lot of capital and effort, online gambling in Canada is expected to start transforming into virtual reality as early as 2023.