AGCO to regulate and, through a subsidiary, conduct and manage internet gaming (igaming)

In its November 2020 Budget, the Government of Ontario announced that it would move to conduct and manage a regulated internet gaming (igaming) market that would be both competitive and protect consumers. The government tasked the AGCO to develop a regulatory framework and establish an independent, arms-length subsidiary that will be responsible for conducting and managing igaming, including managing eligible private-sector operators. This new mandate will not affect the Registrar’s role as regulator, which will remain unchanged and entirely separate from the commercial role of the subsidiary. The governance structure between the AGCO and the igaming subsidiary will be designed to avoid potential real or perceived conflicts of interest.

Regulation of a competitive igaming market

The AGCO has worked to develop an igaming regulatory regime for an open, competitive market that provides consumer choice, protects consumers, supports legal market growth and provincial returns, and reduces red tape. To inform the development of a regulatory regime that meets these objectives, the AGCO considered expert advice and examined igaming regulatory regimes in leading global jurisdictions.

The AGCO leveraged this work and in-house gaming regulatory expertise to advise and support the government’s work to establish a competitive market that will bring igaming operators into Ontario’s legal igaming market, including supporting the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Finance’s public engagements, which were launched March 3, 2021. At the end of this fiscal year, the AGCO released draft Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, giving stakeholders the opportunity to provide input, feedback and advice before the standards are finalized. Additional components of the regulatory program, including eligibility requirements and the compliance approach, will be posted for stakeholder feedback in Spring 2021.