Ontario’s move to a fully regulated online-gambling framework for the Canadian province’s residents now includes an October 31, 2022 warning to all grey-market online-gambling operators still providing services to Ontario. Ontario’s online-gambling regulatory body, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), issued the directive this week while also making changes to the Registrar’s Standards that govern all online gambling in the province.
Described as a move that ends the transition period for sites now licensed in Ontario that formerly operated in an unregulated manner, the official October 31 cutoff date also establishes a date when Ontario’s authorities could consider pursuing investigations against continuing or new unregulated operators, possibly barring them from future licensure in the province.
One now-licensed operator not likely to be impacted by the new directive is the WSOP.ca Ontario site, operated by GGPoker; former GGPoker.com players from Ontario were recently migrated to the WSOP.ca platform.
“A key objective of the AGCO has been to move igaming operators and gaming-related suppliers into Ontario’s regulated market as quickly and as seamlessly as possible,” and AGCO statement declared. “To support this objective, the AGCO established a process for existing operators and gaming-related suppliers in the unregulated market to move into the regulated market without causing significant interruption to their Ontario customer base.”
The AGCO statement added, “This new standard establishes that operators and gaming-related suppliers that are currently active in the unregulated market in Ontario (or have agreements and arrangements with those in the unregulated market in Ontario) must end their activities in the unregulated market to avoid jeopardizing their eligibility for registration. This requirement extends to applicants for registration in Ontario’s igaming scheme.”
AGCO’s latest directive also includes heightened standards for live-dealer gambling conducted online, which applies to blackjack and other table games rather than online poker. Another change scheduled to go into effect in April 2023 tightens the approval and testing processes for “all igaming games,” including random number generators, related components, and the recording systems in place for all such processes.