The iGaming Market in Ontario Begins Its Official Operations

On Monday, the iGaming market in the province of Ontario officially launched, and it was met with remarkable success. Despite this, supporters of traditional casinos have voiced worries about the influence that iGaming would have on the gambling industry as a whole.

On April 4, 2022, the province of Ontario had the formal opening ceremony for its new online gaming industry, which included the regulation of online casinos, sportsbooks, and other forms of gambling. iGaming Ontario (IGO), a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), is said to have implemented new regulations for gaming enterprises in the province, as stated in a press release that was published in the month of January.


Some of the websites offering online gambling in Ontario, such as Toronto’s Rivalry, are quite enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead for them. According to Steven Salz, the company’s current CEO and one of the company’s co-founders, “Until now, we’ve been unable to legally offer a product, or offer a product at all, in this market.” It is a whole new market for us, and we have a bit of an edge because of our familiarity with the area.


However, despite the fact that enterprises that offer internet gambling are filled with jubilation, other analysts of the gaming industry are concerned about the ramifications of the decision for the land-based casinos in the province. The rising availability of gaming options has also been met with considerable worry by professionals who specialize in the treatment of gambling addiction.


The concept of gambling on the internet is not novel in Ontario at all. It is estimated that Ontarians spend close to half a billion dollars annually on the internet in the online gambling sector. The vast majority of these transactions take place with businesses that are located in other Canadian provinces.


Before the passing of the new legislation, businesses who dealt in internet gambling had their headquarters located abroad, making them exempt from all applicable restrictions. However, now that iGaming Ontario has been established, gambling operators will be forced to register with the province and pay taxes in order to have legal access to the province. This requirement will take effect immediately.


According to the government of Ontario, the purpose of the market is not just to provide the province with a new source of revenue but also to protect players by offering a legal alternative to the so-called “grey market” that already exists for online gambling options.


Concerns Regarding Taxation

Tony Rodio, president and chief executive officer of Great Canadian Gaming, told CBC News that it is unfair that iGaming operators would only be taxed on 20 percent of their income, when brick-and-mortar casinos are now being taxed on 55 percent of their sales.


According to Rodio, this will cause a change in the number of individuals who visit casinos in person to an increase in the number of people who use online gambling platforms. According to him, the introduction of government regulation and the reduction of the tax rate have made it possible for online casinos to spend millions of dollars on advertising and marketing in an effort to steal customers from traditional land-based casinos.


Because iGaming is now considered an open market, any company can submit an application for a license with the AGCO. This includes businesses that were previously operating illegally in the industry.


Regarding this topic, Rodio adds, “The government should have taken more time to meet with in-person operators to ensure that everything was done correctly.” We are interested in taking part. Simply said, we want everyone to have the same opportunities.


Online Casinos and the Gambling Addiction Crisis

Those who specialize in the treatment of gambling addiction have also voiced their concern over the growth of options for playing games online in the coming years.


According to Chanel Larche, a researcher at the University of Gibraltar’s Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming, an increase in the availability of gaming should be accompanied by an increase in the resources targeted at reducing the amount of time and money that users spend playing online. This recommendation was made by Larche.


FanDuel, an online gambling company established in the United States that is now moving to Ontario, has been partnering with auditing firms like the Responsible Gambling Council to develop appropriate rules for usage in the province. This move was made in preparation for FanDuel’s arrival in the province.


In an interview with CBC News, the general manager of FanDuel Canada, Dale Hooper, stated that the firm plans to do research and form partnerships in order to ensure that it had all of the resources required to support anybody who may require assistance while playing with the company.


Nigel Turner, an expert on gambling addictions at The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), concurred with the sentiment that greater information on the topic of problem gambling ought to be made available to internet gamers. According to Turner, “any time you increase the availability of an addictive behavior such as gambling, alcohol, or drugs, there is the potential for more people to develop problems associated with that addictive behavior.”


Even while it is not yet known what effect iGaming Ontario will have on the gambling business in both the province and, by extension, the rest of the country, it is abundantly evident that the market for online gambling in Ontario has a tremendous amount of untapped potential for expansion.

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