Ontario Regulator Ends Transition Period for Unlicensed Operators

Updated by Mike Lorente verified symbol on November 07, 2022

Ontario is the most progressive Canadian province regarding gambling laws. In April 2022, it fully legalized online gambling and authorized major worldwide players such as BetMGM Casino and DraftKings Sportsbook. This singles it out as the only province with sweeping regulation over operators, regardless of location. Before, only online gambling platforms run by Ontario-based casinos or sportsbooks were allowed. 

Lawmakers recently unveiled plans to clean up the number of unlicensed operators, significantly increasing gamblers’ safety throughout the province. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will take direct action on offshore sportsbooks and casinos through permanent bans. Experts hope it will address the growing problem of unlicensed operators using unfair and illegal practices.

The Ontario April 2022 Online Gambling Legalization 

Canadian provinces have had the jurisdiction to formalize their own online gambling laws since the legalization of single-event sports betting in 2021. Ontario was an early frontrunner, announcing its plans to establish a licensed and regulated online gambling market soon after. Full iGaming and sportsbook legalization in Ontario came almost a year later in April 2022, allowing world-leading operators to start operating their services in the Heartland Province. 

iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the AGCO, is responsible for overseeing regulations. Online gambling analysts expect the province’s sportsbook and casino market to be one of the most profitable in North America. It is forecasted to make almost $1 billion in the first year alone, providing fertile foundations for further Canadian online gambling expansion. 

The AGCO Takes Direct Action Against Unlicensed Operators

Canadian laws regarding unlicensed offshore operators are hazy and weakly enforced. Gambling on these platforms in Canada isn’t technically illegal, provided they are based outside of the country. It’s a legal loophole that allows millions across the Great White North to access sportsbooks and casinos that don’t have official operations in the country. AGCO is taking direct aim at these sites, requiring all platforms offering their services in the province to have a license. 

New changes to its Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming have come into effect on October 31st. Non-compliant casinos and sportsbooks face a permanent ban in Ontario. Considering the vast potential of its newly opened market, most operators will be desperate to avoid this punishment. 

The amendments have been made with two main objectives in mind. Primarily, AGCO wants to keep players safe by ensuring all potential avenues are fully licensed. It also wants to help unlicensed operators move into the legal framework without disrupting their current customers. 

What Does This Mean for the Ontario Gambling Community?

The AGCO has ensured a safer future for Ontario gambling players. Bettors and casino players can rest easy in the knowledge that all gambling sites in Ontario have been thoroughly vetted for fairness and safety. In accordance with its determination to keep the province clear of dodgy gambling sites, it has declared, “as with any instance of non-compliance, the AGCO will take appropriate regulatory action against any registrant that does not meet this standard (once it comes into force)”.

Ontario gamblers will be celebrating this logical next step in their province’s gambling regulations. Meanwhile, other Canucks will be hoping other locations follow. 

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Mike Lorente
Author Mike Lorente verified symbol
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Mike has worked as a freelance writer, focusing mostly on writing reviews and opinions on online casinos. In these past years, he has come to know in-depth how casinos operate and what to look for when choosing a casino. He is always happy to share new tips and strategies aimed to help you in your gaming journey. Based in Spain, Mike is a specialist in casino games and a master when it comes to online slot machines, sharing his strategies and tips on our website.
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