On August 8, 2019, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision regarding the Appeal filed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in relation to the Got Skill game that was before the Court. In a unanimous decision, the Court accepted the AGCO’s position that the version of Got Skill before the Court is a game of mixed chance and skill and therefore is a game under the Criminal Code.
Subsection 45(1) of Ontario Regulation 719 under the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) states that a liquor licence holder must not permit unlawful gambling to occur on the licensed premises. The AGCO takes the position that unlawful gambling includes the playing of a game under the Criminal Code. As such, liquor licence holders who permit the version of Got Skill before the Court to operate on their premises are in violation of section 45(1).
As noted in Information Bulletin 94, published by the AGCO on August 9, 2019, the AGCO will allow liquor licence holders a reasonable period to come into compliance with section 45(1). With the publication of this Information Bulletin, it is the Registrar’s expectation that liquor licence holders will not permit further play of the Got Skill game at issue in the appeal on their premises. Liquor licence holders must remove the game from their establishment by September 3, 2019.
The Registrar is aware that the developer of the Got Skill game has made certain modifications to the game following the Court of Appeal’s decision. The Registrar has not yet come to a conclusion about the legality of the modified game. Liquor licence holders who choose to permit the operation of the modified game on their premises do so at the risk that the Registrar may determine that the modified game is unlawful gambling.
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