Auditor General of Ontario’s Report
Since development of the 2021-22 Business Plan, the Auditor General released her 2020 annual report, which included a value-for-money audit report on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The review made recommendations with respect to the AGCO’s compliance and inspection activities; its regulatory processes specifically on money laundering in casinos, the cannabis sector, and internet gaming; and public transparency and cost-recovery. The AGCO has always been committed to continuous improvement and will work closely with the Government of Ontario and with the regulated sectors as it addresses many of the recommendations set out in this report.
The AGCO strongly supports the value-for-money purpose of these audits and appreciates they are meant to cast an objective third-party look at government programs with the goal of ensuring the public interest is served. While every noted opportunity to improve value and effectiveness will be closely assessed, some of the recommendations would have the AGCO revert to an outdated approach to regulation that would increase burden and costs on the sectors. The AGCO is committed to finding appropriate solutions that would address any concerns raised without deviating from a modern regulatory approach.
The AGCO is committed to addressing the report’s recommendations as a corporate priority. Regulating with effectiveness and in the public interest drives all the agency’s work on behalf of the people of Ontario. The AGCO values the strong reputation it has earned with government and businesses thanks to its history of hard work, dedication, and partnership. The Auditor General’s report is an opportunity to improve its effectiveness even further.
Since the Government of Ontario’s announcement to mandate the AGCO as the commercial “conduct and manage” entity for Ontario’s privately operated internet gaming market significant work has been done to develop a model that will form the basis of Ontario’s online gaming market structure. In the year ahead, the implementation of an open and competitive internet gaming market is a top corporate priority for the AGCO.
The AGCO is working in partnership with the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Finance to establish a competitive market that will bring the unregulated market’s online gaming operators into Ontario’s legal market and will include a robust consumer protection framework.
In order to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest between the AGCO’s existing role as gaming regulator and its new responsibility as the “conduct and manage” entity for privately operated internet gaming sites, a subsidiary of the AGCO will soon be established to carry out this new role.