Friday, December 17, 2021

Today, the AGCO released a draft version of the revised regulatory standards for the land-based gaming sector which expands the regulatory framework for land-based gaming to include sport and event betting standards. The starting point for building the land-based sport and event betting regulatory program is the creation of draft standards and requirements. Once finalized, these standards will be integrated into the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming and the Casino Electronic Gaming Devices and Gaming Systems Minimum Technical Standards.

With the passage of Bill C-218 (the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act), the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is moving forward to expand its regulatory framework across lottery, land-based gaming and online gaming that will allow for a well-regulated market offering an enhanced menu of options for sport and event betting in Ontario.

The main objective of expanding the regulatory framework to include specific sport and event betting gaming standards is to minimize the potential risk of betting markets being compromised through activities such as insider betting or game manipulation including:

  • Requiring operators to actively monitor the betting markets for suspicious betting activity

  • Prohibiting insiders, including coaches, athletes and referees, from betting on certain events

  • Ensuring that sport and event offerings meet acceptable betting criteria and are not objectionable

Development Process

In September 2021, the AGCO released the final version of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, which included igaming standards specific to online sport and event betting. These standards provide comprehensive outcomes-based rules in such areas as responsible gambling, anti-money laundering, consumer protection, and information security that will take effect when the internet gaming market launches in Ontario.

Since then, the AGCO has reviewed the existing Registrar’s Standards for Gaming and the Casino Electronic Gaming Devices and Gaming Systems Minimum Technical Standards to create an updated set of Standards specifically for sport and event betting. The same basic framework for regulating sport and event betting established for internet gaming has been mirrored here, with some modifications made to reflect the realities of land-based gaming.

Sport and Event Betting-Related Changes to Standards

At a high level, the most significant additions and/or revisions to the Gaming Standards currently in effect will require that:

  • Sport and event bets are understandable; resources must be available to players on how to place bets.

  • Acceptable betting criteria are applied to determine allowable bets and bet types.

  • Operators mitigate the specific integrity risks associated with land–based sport and event betting (including scanning for unusual/suspicious betting patterns) and partner with an independent integrity monitor.

  • Operators mitigate risks associated with anonymous play, including by monitoring transactions to detect players seeking to avoid sport and event betting integrity and/or anti-money laundering reporting requirements.

  • Operators provide players with a record of placed bets.

  • Consistent with the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, operators will not be required to submit sport and event betting rules of play to the Registrar for approval, but if a bet is presented as being a commonly understood type of bet, it must operate as players would expect.

  • Removing the requirement for gaming systems to be located within Ontario (Standard 1.38) to allow an increased variety of operating models.

In addition to the specific sport and event betting changes listed above, a few general changes are being made to the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming. For information on these changes, please visit the AGCO engagement portal.

How to provide input

We want to hear your feedback to ensure that land-based sport and event betting is regulated in accordance with the principles of honesty, integrity, and in the public interest, while meeting other key objectives such as consumer protection and consumer choice.

Please provide your comments by Tuesday January 25, 2022.

You will need to register for an account on the AGCO’s engagement portal, Connect AGCO. Once you have an account, you can access the portal anytime by logging in at https://connectagco.ca/. On the portal, you can download the draft standards and provide your feedback.

Note: receiving access to the engagement portal may take up to one business day after creating an account.

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