- Why were statutory and regulatory amendments made under the Gaming Control Act in June 2012?
The Ontario government introduced these changes as part of a broader initiative to modernize gaming and enhance flexibility for gaming operations in the province. Ultimately, the goal of the reform was to introduce a more risk-based regulatory framework for gaming which is flexible enough to adapt to changes in the marketplace and incorporate new types of gaming, while ensuring that the integrity of gaming is preserved.
- How will the amendments impact the regulatory framework?
The previous regulations under the Gaming Control Act, 1992 have been replaced by one comprehensive regulation that applies to all gaming sectors regulated by the AGCO – namely, charitable gaming, casino/commercial gaming and lotteries managed and conducted by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), as well as the new internet gaming and enhanced charitable gaming products to be introduced by the OLG.
A single regulation will eliminate any “silos” that existed between the four previous regulations, thus developing more consistency and efficiencies across gaming sectors and reducing costs for employees and Ontario businesses. For example, businesses are now able to supply goods and services across all sectors without the need for multiple registrations.
The amendments also support the implementation of a standards-based regulatory model. The objective of a standards-based approach is to allow for a more flexible regulatory system that can be better tailored to changes in the gaming industry, while at the same time ensuring that the integrity of gaming is preserved. In his 2011 value-for-money audit of the AGCO’s regulation of casinos, the Auditor General supported the adoption of a more risk-based approach to regulation as being more effective and efficient than the typical “command and control” model.
- Will the changes reduce the integrity of gaming in the province?
No. The overarching mandate of the AGCO – to regulate the gaming sector in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity and in the public interest – remains unchanged and the integrity of gaming in the province will be preserved and enhanced.
- Were stakeholders consulted about the changes?
Yes. The Ontario government consulted with key stakeholders across the gaming industry on the proposed regulatory approach, including the commercial casinos, the charitable gaming sector and social responsibility groups.
- Will the amendments simplify the process for obtaining or renewing a gaming registration?
Yes. A streamlined registration framework has been introduced which both reduces the number of registration categories from 24 to 7 and allows individuals and businesses to supply goods and services across all gaming sectors without having to obtain separate registrations. This will reduce red tape for those looking to be employed in or provide goods or services to multiple sectors of the gaming industry.
- Am I required to submit multiple applications if I want to supply goods and services to multiple sectors?
Under the new regulation, a single registration allows an individual or business to supply goods and services to multiple sectors. Applicants are only required to submit one application.
- Prior to the new regulation coming into force I held multiple registrations as a supplier. My registration is coming up for its 4 year renewal. Will I continue to need these multiple registrations?
No. When you receive your renewal notice from the AGCO, you will be provided with the appropriate application form to complete and submit.
- Prior to the new regulation coming into force, I was registered as both a “Gaming Premises Manager” and “Bingo Caller” in the charitable gaming sector. Do I now need to register as both a Category 1 and Category 2 Gaming Assistant?
No. Only one registration as a Category 1 Gaming Assistant is required.
- Prior to the new regulation coming into force, I had a single registration to supply goods and services to the casino sector and I would now like to service additional sectors. Do I need to notify the AGCO?
Yes. The AGCO maintains records and conducts an eligibility review based on a risk assessment which includes the type of goods or services provided and the sector being supplied. For these purposes, if you are already registered and plan to start providing goods and services to a new or different sector, notice to the AGCO must be provided.
- Do I still need to submit an application to the AGCO in order to establish or maintain my exemption status?
No. As of June 1, 2012, suppliers holding an exemption certificate or otherwise eligible for an exemption are no longer required to apply or pay a yearly fee to the AGCO to establish or maintain their exempt status.
However, please keep in mind that the OLG and/or other gaming operators may put in place their own due diligence process to ensure suppliers operate in accordance with the law and with honesty, integrity and financial responsibility.
- Prior to the new regulation coming into force I was registered as a “non-gaming-related supplier”. However, my company supplies less than $750,000 to the Ontario gaming sector. Does this mean my company is now exempt under the regulatory changes?
The new regulation has increased the exemption threshold for non-gaming-related suppliers. Therefore, you may be eligible for an exemption even though you were previously required to register as a “non-gaming-related supplier”.
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 a 12 month period is $750,000 or less, and the OLG has carried out a due diligence investigation of the business that is satisfactory to the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming.
We suggest you coordinate with the OLG and/or other gaming operators to which you provide goods and services to determine your exemption status. Under the new regulation, suppliers exempt from registration requirements are not required to apply or pay a yearly fee to the AGCO.
Standards Based Regulation
- What is a standards-based regulatory model?
A standards-based model shifts the regulatory focus from requiring an operator to comply with a prescriptive set of rules and regulations and instead, sets standards or outcomes (and in some cases, requirements) that an operator must achieve. This approach allows a degree of flexibility for operators in establishing how to meet their required standards, and also allows for increased efficiency and effectiveness in their operations. This is a fundamental change which is focused on delivering a modernized approach to gaming regulation, allowing the AGCO to focus its resources on key risks, and allowing a degree of business flexibility while not compromising integrity.
- What are the benefits of a standards-based regulatory model?
The benefits of a standards-based approach to gaming regulation include:
- Increased efficiencies and reduced administrative burden for gaming operators (particularly those with a strong record of compliance).
- Greater flexibility for gaming operators to respond to changing market conditions while continuing to meet regulatory objectives.
- Better regulatory outcomes and an improved assurance of compliance by more effectively targeting resources to areas of higher identified risk.