Ontario jurisdictions

On April 4, 2022, the online gambling market of Ontario officially started operating with multiple top-class casino operators going live from day one. According to the regulations in place, casinos are allowed to offer slots and table games, while racetracks have the permission to offer slots. Pari-mutuel horse wagering is available in both racetrack casinos and horse tracks, while commercial operators are licensed to offer interactive gambling.

Regarding the taxes, gross gaming on casino gaming amounts to 20%, while racetracks tax is 0.5% of the total amount bet on each race. The minimum age for gambling is 18, that is 19, if a customer visits a land-based gambling venue that serves alcohol.

Which Institutions Regulate Gambling in Ontario?

Ontario has not one, but a couple of institutions in charge of regulating specific branches of gambling. The two most significant bodies are the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), and iGaming Ontario (iGO), followed by Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC), Ontario Charitable Gaming Association (OGCA), Ontario Racing Commission (ORC), and Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA).

Established under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Act, 2019, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is a provincial regulatory agency reporting to the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG). Its duty is to regulate the alcohol, gaming, horse racing, and cannabis retail sectors in the public interest by following the principles of honesty and integrity.

Prior to AGCO, there were a couple of smaller bodies, but they were more or less in charge of a single sector, unlike AGCO, which supervises multiple branches. Those were the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario, Gaming Control Commission, and Ontario Racing Commission.

Founded in July 2021 as a subsidiary of the AGCO, iGaming Ontario (iGO) collaborated with the AGCO and the Government of Ontario to establish the basic principles licensees should adhere to. Its main goal is to bring the finest online gambling experiences and create an entertainment environment where responsibility is appreciated. To be able to offer games to residents of Ontario, companies need to receive approvals from both AGCO and iGO.

Furthermore, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC) holds an exclusive license over lottery products and runs all Tribal gaming venues. The Ontario Charitable Gaming Association (OGCA), which runs since 1997, is a non-profit organization that is in charge of all things related to the charitable gaming industry - new products, technology, and regulatory change.

Finally, the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) is a Crown agency of the Ontario Government responsible for regulating the horse racing industry in this province, while the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) regulates and supervises pari-mutuel betting on horse races in Canada.

Are There Any Player Protection Measures in Place?

protection measures

As mentioned in the previous section, iGaming Ontario is in charge of securing a safe gambling environment where responsibility is highly prioritized. Their goal is to maintain the highest standards of player protection while providing continuous education not only to operators but to consumers as well.

By visiting their official website, players can find a dedicated page that explains the importance of responsible gambling and clarifies its own role in it. In addition to this, there’s a “Player Support” page that gives precise instructions on what to do in case a consumer wants to complain about an issue.

Similar to this, there’s a separate page for licensees, where they are clearly introduced to all the principles they should abide by, in order to ensure a safe players' experience. Among all, they should achieve accreditation through the Responsible Gambling Council’s RG Check Program and maintain it, participate in the coordination of a centralized self-exclusion program, run problem gambling campaigns, and more.

One of the biggest proofs that responsibility and player protection is taken seriously is the fact that in May 2022 two operators were penalized, for breaching the rules related to advertising. As indicated by AGCO and iGO, promotions and bonuses can only be advertised on the operator’s official website, and must not be misleading. Under no circumstances should the advertising material imply that chances of winning grow proportionally to the amount of money a customer spends on playing casino games.

When it comes to protection measures, casinos themselves offer time and money limits (deposit, loss, wager), the option to cool off, or even self-exclude. Other than that, players can seek help with Connex Ontario or the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Connex is available 24/7 for all information and support related to mental health and various types of addiction.

Helpful Tips for Players

Choosing an online bingo room or a casino is a process that requires certain analysis, in order to avoid potential misunderstanding and unpleasant situations. That’s why, before registering and making a deposit, a player should look for the iGaming Ontario seal, which would confirm that a casino/ bingo room is greenlighted by local authorities.

To date, a solid number of operators have received the licenses to offer their products to Ontarians, such as LeoVegas, 888, Rush Street Interactive, DraftKings, and many more. They are obliged to follow the rules and directions imposed by the relevant institutions, otherwise, they will get penalized for breaching any of the rules.

Also, numerous developers are acquired the necessary certificates to offer their games to players from Ontario. The list includes big names such as Microgaming, Evolution, Wazdan, GAMOMAT, Push Gaming, Armadillo Studios, Nolimit City, SkillOnNet, Relax Gaming, Wazdan, Blueprint Gaming, and many more.

Aside from these, players should also inspect Terms and Conditions, paying attention to other significant factors such as:

  • Banking policy, including available methods for deposits and withdrawals, fees, processing time, and requirements for ID verification
  • Rules related to promotions and bonuses, including wagering requirements, contribution percentage for specific genres, max bet limits, restricted/permitted games with an active bonus

Of course, if there are reviews and comments made by other players who have already had the opportunity to deposit and play some games, exploring those may help a consumer make up his/ her mind. Our team continuously delegates testers from all over the world to explore more bingo rooms under the From the Players for the Players project, sharing tons of valuable insights with the community.

Gamble responsibly!

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