The gambling industry in Ontario is facing changes due to some newly established regulations imposed by the AGCO. Let’s see what these imply and how they will impact license holders and, most importantly, Canadian players!
The role of the AGCO license
The AGCO is responsible for regulating numerous types of gambling activities in the province of Ontario. Its primary duties in this respect focus on the following:
· Land-based casino
· Online gambling
· The Ontario lottery
· Charitable gaming
· Social gaming
All license holders must abide by the licenser’s rules. These include ensuring players’ protection, offering a safe and fair gaming environment and preventing addiction-associated risks.
Hence, when legislation changes occur, the license holders and all the parties involved must reevaluate their services and conform with the new standard.
In early 2022, the AGCO published an updated version of the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming. The aim of this was to strengthen player protection in Ontario.
What do the new rules imply?
The new regulations refer to several gambling areas, including land-based and online facilities. However, the most drastic ones can be observed in the digital environment, as most Canadian punters engage in online gambling, where the risks are increased and the level of control is lower.
Gambling advertising restrictions
To reduce the number of new punters and decrease the risk of underage gambling, the AGCO decided to restrict the advertising activity of casino operators and their affiliates.
Therefore, public adverts of casino bonuses, sports betting credits, event incentives and other inducements are prohibited. The only exception applies to the operator’s own website and other venues owned by it. The Casinobonusca study discusses various advantages of this solution. One of them pertains to a drop in freshly depositing players despite a larger overall deposit amount.
Other restrictions include:
· Casino operators can only advertise inducements via direct messaging after receiving the player’s consent
· The advertisements cannot be classified as free or risk-free unless they are so.
No references to iGaming
This update is related to the previous one. As direct advertisements on all other channels apart from the casino operator’s have been prohibited, the references towards iGaming and its designated section have been removed from the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming. Instead, the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming was established in April 2022 and came into effect soon after.
Sports betting updates
The new AGCO license has also brought modifications to the sports betting sector. Here are the most significant ones:
· Resources on how to place bets must be available to players
· Operators must provide punters access to their betting history
· Mitigating risks associated with anonymous play by monitoring transactions
· Prohibiting insiders, such as professional players, coaches and referees, from placing bets on certain events.
How do the changes affect players?
The first and most important effect of the new regulations is the increase in players’ protection. Limiting the access of vulnerable groups to gambling advertisements will hopefully decrease the rate of underage gambling, as well as the risk of addiction in regular punters.
Another effect that might be seen as a disadvantage is the lack of information on gambling affiliate sites. Having no details whatsoever about a casino’s promotions may cause players to spend more time online searching for relevant data.
However, this might also mean that they will become more aware of their gambling surroundings and learn how to rely only on trustworthy sources. Last but not least, some might even be discouraged by the lack of promotional details and abandon the thought of joining a gambling website in the first place.