All local players as well as the international community were in awe when April 4, 2022, marked a significant milestone for Ontario’s gambling industry, as the province enacted new regulations for a fully legal offline and online casino market.
These new laws allowed registered and licensed operators to offer gambling services to local players, ensuring greater protection of their data and customer rights.
Prior to this, only a handful of Internet casinos, usually operating from abroad, could offer their services in the province. Most of the time, people used to play on offshore sites risking their sensitive data and their customer’s rights.
After April 2022, with around 70 operators already registered to function legally in the province, it’s a promising sign of a regulated online gambling market in Canada. The new regulations will enable offline casinos to utilize Internet platforms more effectively and broaden their offerings to cater to a larger gaming audience.
What Organizations Supervise Online Gambling in Ontario
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has the responsibility of controlling all local casinos and ensuring that entertainment is provided according to the law. It is an old agency and not everyone was happy about its service quality and its monopoly.
Established in 1975, OLG regulates slot machines and table games in casinos, horse racing, sports betting, and several local lotteries. No other operators could legally compete with it in the region. Players had no better situation. Everyone who is 18 years old can take part in a lottery, while gambling at a land-based casino is possible for those who are 19 and older. But the variety of games was not satisfactory.
Online gambling in the province is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) starting in April 2022 and applied new quality standards to the end products and services offered to customers.
AGCO has created iGaming Ontario to specifically oversee Internet casinos and mobile apps. Thus, players in this region can rest assured that their gambling activities at any online casino Ontario are regulated by trusted authorities, ensuring fair and safe gaming experiences.
What AGCO Checks About Online Casinos
For players and Internet casinos in the province, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is responsible for ensuring that gaming entertainment is provided according to the law. AGCO verifies that casinos adhere to the Criminal Code (Canada), the Gaming Control Act, and the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, and ensures compliance with consumer protection and revenue generation laws.
In addition, AGCO checks iGaming revenues on behalf of the province provides market information and facilitates the integration of casino brands into the new market. To protect players, AGCO ensures the application of responsible gaming requirements for casino operators, developsiGaming Ontario’s anti-money laundering program and policies, and manages a dispute resolution process to address customer concerns.
The organization also develops the iGaming industry in the province to ensure player satisfaction by promoting free choice and healthy competition for businesses. Moreover, AGCO ensures that government obligations related to revenue and financial reporting are fulfilled and that sensitive personal data is kept confidential.
New Online Gambling Rules in Ontario
Online casinos offering services in Ontario now use geolocation software to ensure access only from within the province, and players don’t have to be registered residents of the province but must be physically present within the province when playing. This includes access to real money bets and withdrawals.
Casinos are now also required to apply an extended KYC (Know Your Customer) procedure to their players. The requirements include, among other data, the full address of the customer, their registered place of residence and location from which they are going to access the casino site, their business or current occupation, proof that the customer is not a politically exposed person, head of an international organization, or a family member or close associate of a politically exposed person or head of an international organization, relevant payment information, and more.
So, What Ontario Online Casinos Can Offer?
At the time of writing this post, over 70 Internet casinos by different operators are already registered as fully licensed and tested by AGCO and iGaming Ontario. You can check out the full list of these casinos on the corresponding iGaming Ontario page.
However, there is a nuance that every Ontario player should be aware of. The majority of Internet casinos that are now licensed for the province have been in the industry for many years and they have boasted big lobbies featuring 2,000+ games or more. However, local seasoned gamblers can notice that Ontario versions have much fewer games – up to 1,000 maximum, and some offer only about 500 games total.
This is a temporary situation as not all software providers have already got their Ontario licenses as well. Right now, around 20 famous global providers already have their games legally available in the province. Other studios do not have the right to offer their games to Ontario players anymore, and this is the reason why Internet casinos in the province show fewer games.