Ontario iGaming is coming, whether critics like it or not, on Monday, April 4.
Canada’s most populous province last July motioned to authorize online casino sites. The Legislative Assembly wants to bring online gamblers who have been gambling on offshore sites into a regulated environment, one that additionally generates tax revenue for the province.
There is much opposition to iGaming’s legalization and welcoming of foreign interactive gaming operators. But the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) says such platforms are still on track to launch in less than two weeks. The regulator has approved 16 iGaming operators.
They are Annexio (LottoGo), BetMGM, Coolbet, FanDuel, Fitzdares, bet365, LeoVegas, WSOP, Ontario Lottery and Gaming, PointsBet, Rivalry, Royal Panda, Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers Ontario), theScore, Unibet, and 888.
To legally access the sites come April 4, players must be at least 19 years old and be physically located within provincial borders. iGaming firms will be subject to a 20% tax on their gross gaming revenue.
US Citizens Welcome
The AGCO additionally confirmed this week that anyone aged 19 and up — regardless of residency — will be permitted to gamble online in the province. That means US residents will be allowed to venture into Ontario to place their sports bets and gamble online.
Ontario shares borders with Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Only Michigan and Pennsylvania currently have legal iGaming. But Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York each have legal online sports betting. Ohio legalized online sports betting late last year, but operations haven’t yet gone live.
Early next month, residents from Canada’s southern neighbor will be clear to venture across the border, open up their mobile devices, and begin placing sports bets and spin interactive slots.
A player’s residency status is not a factor in whether they can play on websites offered by registered and authorized operators,” the AGCO explained. “The requirement is that players must physically be in Ontario to play legally.”
Though a player must be within Ontario to place a bet, their accounts will be accessible while they are physically located outside of Ontario. The scheduling of deposits and withdrawals, for example, will be possible while outside Ontario.
Delay Efforts Continue
Though the April 4 launch of iGaming and online sports betting in Ontario seems inevitable, the land-based gaming industry continues to urge provincial officials to reconsider the 20% GGR tax on mobile operations.
Companies like the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, Canada’s largest gaming company, claim the low mobile gambling tax puts brick-and-mortar casinos at a competitive disadvantage. Ontario taxes GGR from land-based play at 55%.
iGaming proponents say the debut of regulated sites will simply provide those already participating in offshore internet gambling a safer option. The AGCO has issued numerous advertising safeguards that seek to limit how iGaming firms market their operations.
iGaming firms are prohibited from advertising inducements, bonuses, and credits anywhere other than on their actual interactive gaming platform website or through direct marketing. “Free” must also mean free, meaning such promos must not come with the caveat that the player risks their own money or incurs a loss to receive the “free” credits.