Ontario launches legal online gambling market

Legal iGaming went live in Ontario early on Monday.
Legal iGaming went live in Ontario early on Monday.

Canada’s largest province opens its regulated online gambling market today (April 4).

Canada.- Ontario’s online gambling market is open for business. Starting today (April 4), residents in Canada’s largest province can legally gamble online on both online casino games and sports betting via their mobile device or computer. 

iGaming Ontario, the subsidiary of Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), has responsibility for regulating the new market, as well as issuing licences to operators and suppliers. Nearly 1,300 jobs will be created in Ontario due to the launch, according to a report released by PlayCanada, which tracks the Canadian gaming market.

It’s been almost three years since Ontario’s government revealed plans to end the lottery’s online gambling monopoly in April 2019. In 2020, the government introduced legislation to allow for a licensing regime and in September 2021, Ontario published its final standards for online betting and gaming. 

The AGCO has approved a raft of igaming operators and suppliers in recent weeks, including LeoVegas Group, Rush Street Interactive, Gaming RealmsBragg Gaming Group888 HoldingsInspired Entertainment, Kambi, Kindred, Pariplay, FanDuel and BetMGM. Play’n GO has been awarded a supplier licence that will see the company’s portfolio made available for players when the regulated market opens.

More operators are expected to join the market in the months to come. At least 30 have applied for registration. 

Google advertising policy

Last week, Google announced an update to its advertising policy to include ads from regulated sports betting operators in Ontario ahead of launch of the province’s online gambling market. The policy change will allow operators to run adverts for online sports betting, online casino and daily fantasy sports.

In order to qualify for Google ads, sports betting operators in Ontario must first be certified by the Internet company in a process that will require them to present their gambling licences. iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), manages licensing and internet gaming provided by private gaming companies.

Regulated operators will have to follow advertising rules from the AGCO, which forbids them from advertising inducements, bonuses, or credits to players. Operators must also provide players with self-exclusion tools accessible via their websites.

On its Advertising Policies page, Google states: “We support responsible gambling advertising and abide by local gambling laws and industry standards, so we don’t allow certain kinds of gambling-related advertising. Gambling-related ads are allowed if they comply with the policies below and the advertiser has received the proper Google Ads certification.”  

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