Following the completion of industry-wide consultations, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has finalized several important updates to the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming (The Standards).
These changes support the province’s overall goal of creating a safer, competitive and well-regulated internet gaming (igaming) market for the people of Ontario.
- New Standard that Ends Transition Period for Unregulated iGaming Operators and Gaming-related Suppliers
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. 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.
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.
In order to provide affected operators and gaming-related suppliers with sufficient time to comply with this new Standard, Standard 1.22 will come into force on October 31, 2022.
1.22 Operators and gaming-related suppliers must cease all unregulated activities if, to carry out those same activities in iGaming Ontario’s regulated online lottery scheme, it would require registration under the GCA.
Operators and gaming-related suppliers shall not enter into any agreements or arrangements with any unregistered person who is providing the operator or gaming-related supplier with any goods or services if, to provide those goods and services in iGaming Ontario’s regulated online lottery scheme, it would require registration under the GCA.
Note: For greater certainty, and without limiting the generality of any other Standard, this Standard applies to and governs applicants.
- Amended Standards for Live Dealer Games
The AGCO continues to closely monitor Ontario’s internet gaming (igaming) market. Since the market was launched on April 4, 2022, the AGCO has noted the growing popularity of Live Dealer games, which are games played with live presenters or dealers that players connect to and play through an igaming site.
The AGCO has determined that amendments to the Registrar’s Standards are necessary to address the potential risk related to the use of physical gaming equipment (including, among others, roulette wheels and playing cards) and the risk related to the use of live presenters.
These amendments will come into force as of October 31st, 2022, with the exception of an update to standard 4.08. The updated standard 4.08 will come into force six months from now on April 4, 2023, in order to give enough time for operators and gaming-related suppliers to get their equipment certified. All amendments will apply to operators and gaming-related suppliers who offer Live Dealer games. More information will be communicated to registrants in the coming weeks.
The following standards will be effective as of October 31, 2022
4.09 Gaming systems and gaming supplies shall be provided, installed, configured, maintained, repaired, stored, and operated in a way that ensures the integrity, safety and security of the gaming supplies and systems. (Also applicable to Gaming-Related Suppliers). [Amended: October, 2022] […]
4.35 Access to live dealer gaming supplies shall be restricted to individuals with a business need. (Also applicable to Gaming-Related Suppliers). [Added: October, 2022]
Requirements – At a minimum:
- Access privileges are granted, modified, and revoked based on employment status and job requirements and all activities associated with these actions logged.
- Access privileges are independently reviewed and confirmed on a periodic basis.
4.36 Operators must have controls in place to ensure live dealer game presenters do not compromise the integrity of a game. [Added: October, 2022]
The following change will be effective as of April 4th, 2023:
4.08 All igaming games, random number generators and components of igaming systems that accept, process, determine outcome of, display, and log details about player bets, including any subsequent modifications, must either be approved by the Registrar or certified by an independent testing laboratory registered by the Registrar, as per the AGCO’s ITL Certification Policy, prior to being provided for any gaming site. [Amended: April, 2023]
Guidance: For greater certainty, this Standard applies to gaming equipment used in Live Dealer games that contains electronic components.
As a result of these changes, the Operator Application Guide and Supplier Application Guide will be updated.
The AGCO will provide more guidance on certification requirements for Live Dealer games via an updated ITL Certification Policy in the coming weeks.