iGaming Is Coming to Ontario – The Names of The Operators Have Been Released

Ontario’s iGaming market will be up and running and open for online bets from April 4th. iGaming Ontario a subsidiary of the province’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) has announced who the first sixteen authorized platforms are. Canada’s most populous state will be joining many other countries and territories around the world who have regulated online betting markets.

Despite last-minute objections being raised, particularly from bricks and mortar casino companies, the plans are going ahead. There has been much criticism of the way in which the legislation is being implemented. The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation have claimed that the mobile gambling tax of 20% puts land-based operators at a competitive disadvantage. The tax onland-based casinos is 55% of Gross Gambling Revenue. Very recently the AGCO announced that iGaming firms will be prohibited from advertising any bouses, inducements, or credits other than on their own platforms or through direct marketing.They have also said that any use of the word free must mean free and be unconditional

The licenses have been granted to Annexio (LottoGo), BetMGM, Coolbet, FanDuel, Fitzdares, bet365, LeoVegas, WSOP, Ontario Lottery and Gaming, PointsBet, Rivalry, Royal Panda, Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers Ontario), the Score, Unibet and 888.

As well as the concerns that iGaming will negatively impact the land-based casino market there is also a fear that problem gambling will increase.The counter argument to this is that legalization will simply close down the ‘gray’ market where Canadians can already access sites that are not legal in the province. In August 2021, DraftKings revealed that it had a strong customer base in Canada for its daily fantasy contests, thus debunking the myth that iGaming didn’t exist because it wasn’t regulated. By having a regulated market, the state can ensure maximum player protection and earn revenue from the industry. The new legislation should also help problem gamblers find support.

Ontario is following in the footsteps of some of the USA’s states which have already relaxed their laws on online gambling. Many of the USA states now allow online sports betting and online casino games are legal in Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia where players can seek out the best no deposit bonus casino offerings for themselves.  Pennsylvania has a population of 12.8 million people which is closest in size to Ontario’s 14.5 million.

Pennsylvania posted recorded gambling revenues in January with online casinos total iGaming revenues of $108,310,642. Retail slots were the dominant revenue earner bringing in a staggering $168,441,692 in the month. Table games at land-based casinos in Pennsylvania were $78,227,708. Online slots are catching up fast with a revenue of $71,836,045 – up 41% on the previous year. It is interesting that land-based casino revenues remained strong and even staged a comeback after a difficult period during the Covid 19 restrictions. This should offer some comfort to those who oppose iGaming on the grounds that it threatens brickandmortar casinos

The Research and Markets report expects the US online gambling market to reach annual revenues of $92.9 billion by 2023- an annual compound increase of 11.6%. This will be driven bymore licenses being granted and additional states relaxing their laws, as well as technology such as Blockchain and VR fueling industry growth.

In Ontario players will need to be at least 19 years old and be physically located within its borders to legally access the new online platforms. Residency will not be a condition of being able to legally gamble in the province. For residents of American states that do not currently allow iGaming like Minnesota and Ohio, it might be an attractive proposition for some US residents to hop across the border. From April Americans with be able to take a trip to Ontario and place sports bets and play online games on their mobile devices. If this happens then the iGaming industry could be a boost for the tourist trade and help to bolster the Canadian economy further.

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