Regulatory Changes For Online Casinos in Ontario

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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) unveiled new laws in February of this year pertaining to the marketing of online casinos and sportsbooks.

Amendments to the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming are expected to strengthen protections against over-exposure to gambling for minors and the involvement of professional athletes as sponsors when advertising gambling companies.

According to AGCO: “This approach offers greater flexibility for regulated entities to make decisions that best suit their business needs while meeting the regulatory outcomes.”

The new amendments were written into law on February 28 and came into force immediately.

What Is Outlined In The Recent Law Updates?

From now on, using cartoon figures, social media influencers, and celebrities in print, television, social media, or radio advertisements is prohibited. Anything considered appealing to minors could result in the termination of an operating licence.

Other new rules put in place include restrictions on any gambling advertisements featured within a certain distance from schools, though athletes are able to feature in marketing material that promotes responsible gambling.

When announcing the news last August, Tom Mungham, the then-registrar and CEO of the AGCO, said: “Children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to. We’re therefore increasing measures to protect Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of these influential figures to promote online betting in Ontario.”

Camille Quenneville, a spokesperson for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), called it a watershed move in a new-age of regulation: “With the gamification of online gambling, youth are especially at risk of gambling-related harms. These restrictions are a crucial first step in the regulatory action needed to reverse the alarming trends in online gambling among youth in Ontario.”

Bunchberry Limited, Mobile Incorporated Limited and LeoVegas have already fallen foul of the AGCO this year and were forced to pay fines of $70,000 each after being found guilty of making unapproved games available on their websites.

What Is The History Of AGCO?

One of the foremost authorities on iGaming, AGCO was established in 1998. In its role as a  provincial regulatory agency, it reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) and is responsible for regulating the alcohol, gaming, horse racing and cannabis retail sectors with the public interest at heart.

In recent years, attitudes to gambling have been changing in Ontario.

From 1892 until as recently as 2022, gambling was totally outlawed, save for a few instances. But when government officials clocked how much money could be raised in taxes, a move was made to legalise the practice.

Indeed, in its first year since opening, the Ontario online gambling and and sports betting industry spawned approximately $761 million in government revenue, according to a new report, while it contributed $1.6 billion to the gross domestic product from the province, a figure that is projected to rise to $.7 billion in ten years time, according to a report by Deloitte.

Profits raised by the province in taxing online casinos in Ontario and through gambling fines can be pumped back into supporting critical infrastructure projects, public services, and more.

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Lewis Constable
Expert Writer
Staffordshire University
Single Honours Journalism. Expertise in telling stories concisely and accurately. A focus on responsible gambling marketing with an innate and in-depth understanding of compliance in multiple regions.
Expert in:
  • Latest Gambling News and Trends
  • iGaming Content
Reviewed by Head of Content:
Dmitry Rogalchuk
Last updated on: 02.05.2024

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