INFORMATION BULLETIN No. 69
On June 1, 2012, statutory and regulatory amendments under the Gaming Control Act, 1992 (GCA) came into force. The amendments support the Ontario government’s initiative to modernize gaming and enhance flexibility for gaming operations in the province.
Among the changes, a new regulation has been introduced that covers all the gaming sectors under the AGCO’s responsibility (i.e. casino/commercial gaming, charitable gaming and lotteries operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)) – as well as the new internet and electronic charitable gaming products that are being developed by the OLG.
The new regulation, O.Reg 78/12, is expected to benefit Ontario’s gaming industry and the broader public interest in several ways.
More consistency and efficiencies between gaming sectors
The previous regulatory framework was developed in stages over the last two decades, with regulations added as each new form of gaming entered the Ontario marketplace. This resulted in inconsistencies across gaming sectors, additional costs to business and unnecessary red tape. The amendments will eliminate these “silos” between the previous regulations, thus developing more consistency and efficiencies across gaming sectors and reducing costs for gaming employees, businesses and government.
Streamlining of registration classes
As of June 1, 2012, gaming registrations are no longer classified separately by sector. This change means that individuals and businesses are able to supply goods and services across all sectors without having to obtain multiple registrations. For example, a single registration as a “gaming-related supplier” allows a business to supply goods and services to casinos and slot machine facilities, bingo halls and to the OLG lottery sector. Under the previous framework, a separate registration was required to supply each type of gaming activity.
The previous 24 classes of gaming registration have been streamlined into 7 main types:
- Operators of gaming sites
- Gaming-related suppliers
- Non-gaming-related suppliers
- Gaming assistants with supervisory/decision-making responsibility (Category 1 assistants)
- Gaming assistants with operational responsibility (Category 2 assistants)
- Sellers of lottery and break open tickets
- Trade unions
A single streamlined registration framework will simplify the processing of applications and reduce red tape for those looking to be employed in or provide goods or services to the gaming industry. (For a complete listing of the changes to the classes of registration, please see the table below).
Increased threshold for supplier exemptions
The regulatory changes have increased the monetary exemption threshold for non-gamingrelated suppliers. By definition, these suppliers are not involved in any significant manner in the operation of a gaming site. For instance, they might provide a gaming site with non-gaming related goods and services such as furniture or flowers.
Under the new regulation, a business may be eligible for an exemption from registration as a “non-gaming related supplier” if the value of the goods or services it is supplying to the OLG and/or other gaming operators in the province in a 12 month period will be less than $750,000, and the OLG has carried out a due diligence investigation of the business that is satisfactory to the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming.
By increasing the scope and monetary threshold of such exemptions, the new regulation provides the OLG and other gaming operators with greater flexibility and latitude to transact with low risk suppliers, thereby saving government money and enhancing overall business competitiveness and opportunities in the province. At the same time, exempt suppliers are still required to comply with any standards and requirements established by the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming, and the Registrar can still take administrative action against them in cases of noncompliance.
More effective regulation of new lines of gaming business and oversight of responsible gambling
The new framework was developed to accommodate new forms of gaming in Ontario not contemplated by the previous regulations, such as internet gaming and the OLG’s partnership with the charitable gaming sector at bingo centres.
In addition, amendments to the GCA allow the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming to set standards and assume a broad-based oversight responsibility in the area of responsible gambling. As the regulator of gaming, the AGCO’s goal is to ensure that gaming is provided in Ontario in ways that seek to minimize potential harm and that supports a safe and responsible gaming environment.
Standards-based approach to gaming regulation
The statutory and regulatory amendments permit the introduction of a more risk-based approach to regulation of Ontario’s gaming sector. Specifically, the changes provide the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming with authority to put in place risk-based standards to address various key areas of regulatory concern such as surveillance, security, access to gaming sites, protection of players and responsible gambling. These standards replace the prescriptive, rules-based approach taken in the previous regulations. The objective is to allow for a more flexible regulatory system that is more responsive to market conditions and can be better tailored to changes in the gaming industry, while at the same time ensuring that the integrity of gaming is preserved. This provides operational flexibility to the OLG, casino operators and many thousands of charities raising funds through charitable gaming activities.
Standards are developed and implemented across each sector based on a comprehensive and systematic risk assessment approach. Risk assessments will be conducted regularly to ensure that the standards continue to be relevant, and that the highest standards of integrity for gaming in Ontario are maintained.
In his 2011 value-for-money audit of the AGCO’s regulation of casinos, the Auditor General commended the AGCO for having one of the most effective regulatory regimes in North America, and expressed strong support for the AGCO’s ongoing transition away from a “command and control” model to a more risk-based regulatory approach.
For more information on the introduction of O.Reg 78/12, please see: Frequently Asked Questions - Gaming Regulatory Reform.
|Class of Registration as of June 1, 2012||Goods and Services Supplied|
|Operator||Class A Bingo Hall Owner or Operator|
|Class A Bingo Hall Owner or Operator where break open tickets are sold|
|Class B Bingo Hall Owner or Operator|
|Class B Bingo Hall Owner or Operator where break open tickets are sold|
|Class C Bingo Hall Owner or Operator|
|Class C Bingo Hall Owner or Operator where break open tickets are sold|
|Gaming Related Supplier (Commercial Casino Operator)|
|Seller||Break Open Ticket Seller|
|Gaming-Related Supplier||Bingo Paper or Break Open Ticket Manufacturer|
|Gaming Equipment Manufacturer|
|Gaming Equipment Supplier|
|Gaming Related Supplier|
|Gaming Services Supplier|
|Non-Gaming-Related Supplier||Non-Gaming-Related Supplier|
|Trade Union||Trade Union|
|Category 1 Gaming Assistant||Gaming Key Employee|
|Gaming Premises Manager|
|Lottery Retailer Manager|
|Category 2 Gaming Assistant||Bingo Caller|
|Gaming Services Employee|