Ontario to Put Off Sports Betting and iGaming Launch
Published: December 14, 2021
The plan to launch sports betting and iGaming in Ontario has encountered an obstacle that could postpone the operation until February 2022.
Reports have said the intended December launch has hit roadblocks regarding security requirements, data management and drafting policy conditions.
Consequently, some of the operators, including prominent names in the US market, have put off submitting their applications.
A government report suggested alterations in the legal framework regarding regulated iGaming and sports betting. The reasons are that it focuses more on operators than on the regulator.
The document has revealed too much business risk, and decision-making power rests with private operators. Even though no set of rules is finalized yet, there is a question of meeting the “conduct and manage“ threshold.
It happened before that a province delegates the “conduct and manage“ function to a private entity. Hence, this is not the first time such problems have arisen in Canada.
The report underlines a possible conflict of interest with AGCO’s running of the business in Ontario concerning regulatory oversight. It questions iGaming Ontario’s ability to protect the customers by securing integrity and regulation of the offered titles.
The inability to do this represents a massive reputational hazard for AGCO. The launch was initially slated for December 2021, but these obstacles could prevent it before late February 2022. It would mean the market would remain closed for the NFL Super Bowl and the Grey Cup.
A few of the biggest US operators, including Gamesys, PointsBet and FanDuel, have already started penetrating the prospective market. They have been making crucial hires, signing new deals and establishing their operations in Ontario.
Everyone has great expectations from this jurisdiction, waiting for the biggest province to launch iGaming and sports betting for a while. However, they will have to wait a little longer to realize their ambitions.
About iGaming in Ontario
The OLG currently offers the only legal iGaming platform in Ontario, focusing on interactive casino games. They include slots, blackjack and other table games. iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of AGCO, was founded in July 2021 to create a safer gaming environment.
The organization will ink deals with prospective operators who meet strict standards and promote integrity, social responsibility and player protection. Sports betting and online casinos were supposed to launch in the province in December 2021, but it will probably happen in February 2022.