Ontario is poised to become the first jurisdiction in North America to license online gambling. Having been passed by provincial legislators, it remains unclear how this will impact U.S.-based businesses that rely on Ontario as a source of revenue.
The “Ontario igaming launch” is a new online gaming license that will be available in Ontario, Canada on April 4, 2022. Read more in detail here: ontario igaming launch.
What Does iGaming Regulation Mean for You in Ontario?
For the last 25 years, Ontarians have been gambling on the internet. In that time, a lot has changed. It’s no longer only about number and quality of games. Regulatory intervention has brought about the most important changes. There was no iGaming regulation in the late 1990s. It was a virtual free for all that spanned the whole world.
Regulation came slowly throughout Canada, with Ontario being the first province to operate a single, provincially regulated gaming website in 2015. (11 years after British Columbia pioneered Canadian iGaming). The locals, on the other hand, were unconcerned. Canadians have legal access to offshore casinos, poker rooms, and sports betting sites before to 2015, and for all subsequent years. However, another significant shift is coming to Ontario in just a few weeks.
Ontario’s Online Gambling Market is Heating Up
Since the establishment of provincial control, the most important thing Ontario has lacked is a competitive market. There has always been access to a very competitive international market, with thousands of sites operating out of European and Caribbean countries, but never domestically. That will soon change.
The Ontario government, in collaboration with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), will approve, license, and regulate a variety of online gambling activities beginning April 4, 2022. Only inhabitants of the province who are of legal age will be permitted to bet on these websites.
For those interested in online casino and sports betting, the question today is:
“Can you tell me what regulation means to you?”
What exactly is the province doing? How will it impact those who already bet at Ontario’s PlayOLG, or through international websites? And for those new to iGaming, what’s the better choice? We aim to answer these questions and more with the following Q&A.
How is iGaming Regulation in Ontario Changing?
We’ll have to take a step back to address this. Ontario adopted a federal directive in 2015 that said that gaming may only be controlled and operated by the provincial government. As a result, Ontario developed its own online casino, PlayOLG. Although it was able to attract a sizable number of Ontarians, the great majority of them continued to gamble on offshore sites.
In the years thereafter, Ontario has battled to enact laws that would allow for a competitive market, comparable to that which exists in Europe and, more recently, in several US states. They eventually finished the process last year, and Ontario announced in early 2022 that it will accept licensing applications from international iGaming companies. Those that are granted a license will be able to start operating as soon as April 4, 2022, which is just two weeks from now.
How Reputable are Licensed Online Gambling Sites in Ontario?
The best part of Ontario regulating and licensing private internet casinos is that gamers won’t have to worry about an operator’s reputation. When it comes to overseas casinos, you never know who you can trust and who you can’t; at least, not without doing your homework.
You may rest comfortable knowing that if a website is licensed to operate in Ontario, your own government has already done the legwork. The operator has undergone extensive background checks and software testing, and is in full compliance with all local regulations, including stringent player safeguards.
In Ontario, what kinds of wagers will licensees be able to offer?
To provide online casino games, poker games, and/or sports betting, online gambling businesses may apply for an Ontario gaming license.
What Are the Differences Between Ontario Licensed Sites and International Sites?
This is possibly the most important topic of all, particularly for Ontarians who have spent years gambling on overseas sites. What does Ontario’s competitive market have to offer that other countries’ websites don’t? There will only be two differences in reality. These new locations will be licensed in Ontario and will provide domestic client service.
At best, the first distinction is ornamental. The second, on the other hand, may have an influence on players who have queries or complaints about a certain operator. Local regulation implies that if a problem arises, players may go to a local office for help. Even in worldwide marketplaces, such issues are uncommon. It does, however, imply more player rights protection and government oversight of operator duties.
What About the Features of the Website? (Games, promotions, and return on investment)
When it comes to features, don’t expect to notice many distinctions between local and overseas gaming sites. The competitive nature of the industry will inevitably lead to more options for customers if private enterprises are licensed.
Ontario licensees are expected to advertise extensive gaming menus, attractive incentives, and lucrative loyalty programs, much as the foreign industry has done for years.
The only limits will be those imposed by provincial and federal legislation. Limitations on payment percentages are the most notable of them. The AGCO claims that:
“A casino or slot facility in Ontario may pick an overall payout rate of more than 85%, but a machine with a lower payout cannot be installed.” A request must be made to the Commission for approval and inspection in order to adjust the payout rate of any slot machine.”
This legislation applies to slot machines in both land-based and internet casinos.
How do the RTPs of Ontario’s slot machines compare to those of offshore casinos?
Prior to the introduction of private operator competition, RTPs in Ontario were much lower than in other markets. We should anticipate greater RTPs on slot machines and other games of chance now that local internet casinos are becoming more competitive. Land-based casinos may potentially raise their RTPs to compete with internet gambling.
Players have been enjoying extraordinarily high RTPs in the 96-98 percent range due to oversaturation in overseas markets. Meanwhile, internet and land-based casinos in Ontario have been averaging only 91-93 percent. Only time will tell whether online gaming firms in Ontario boost their RTPs to match those of offshore sites.
Is it possible to calculate the RTP of an online slot machine?
Yes, in Ontario. Consumers must be informed of the total odds and payout percentage of each gambling game, according to local legislation. The AGCO, on the other hand, has long questioned whether casinos go to great lengths to make this information widely accessible. The AGCO considers that only players who know how and where to access such information profit from it in land casinos.
On most cases, the odds and RTPs of online slots may be found in the game’s information sheet. On the game screen, press the Info or Pay Table buttons to get to it. Most games, on the other hand, require scrolling through numerous pages of instructions. The odds and return on investment (RTI) are most likely to be found towards the very bottom, or on the very last page, of this data.
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The “Ontario online gaming regulations” is the first step in a long process of bringing licensed iGaming to Ontario. The new legislation comes into effect on April 4, 2022 and will be followed by a 12-month transition period. Reference: ontario online gaming regulations.
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