Responsible for the Gambling Board Affairs praise, notice for the sports betting market Ontario Geo Tv News

Shelley White praises those responsible for their management of Canada’s domestic sports betting market. However, the director of the Responsible Gambling Council warns against complacency in an ever-changing market.

The industry fully reopened in Ontario on April 4, 2022. The province’s regulated market generated just over $1.48 billion in gross gaming revenue in its first year of operation.

The 2023 report is expected to be announced in April.

“Typically a regulator makes rules and then maintains them for a decade before taking action,” White said. “But this regulator, AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario), has made it a priority to monitor the regulations and make changes as necessary.

“In fact, it is very rare for regulators to do something like this. The province of Ontario is known to be a world leader in responsible gambling.

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Ontario is the only province in Canada with an open and regulated iGaming market. Sports betting and online gambling in other parts of the country are managed through provincial websites.

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Last August, the AGCO announced it would ban the use of athletes in online gaming advertising and marketing in Ontario. It also tightened standards restricting the use of celebrities who might appeal to minors.

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The restrictions came into force on Wednesday.

AGCO has also hit operators hard financially. In January, the company fined MGE Niagara Entertainment Inc., which operates and Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario, $70,000. The penalty was “failing to comply with applicable requirements to reduce the risk of illegal activities, including money laundering, on the gaming site.”

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Founded in 1983, the Responsible Gaming Council (RGC) strives to reduce the risks of gambling through awareness programs, better gaming safety measures and the development of standards. AGCO is responsible for regulating the alcohol, gambling, horse racing and cannabis retail sectors in Ontario.

In 2021, Queen’s Park founded iGaming Ontario (iGO) to operate and manage online gaming in the province.

White praised AGCO, iGO and the provincial government for including the RGC in discussions ahead of the April 2022 launch and being proactive in setting the rules. But he said no one can rest on their laurels now.

“There is definitely still a lot of work to be done in prevention education,” he said. “Increased investment in prevention education programs for youth, adults and individuals who engage in online gambling and sports betting.

“This is because they are aware of the responsible gambling tools available and use these to ensure they experience safe gambling. More investment is also needed in support.”

iGaming operators in Ontario are now also required to allocate a portion of their marketing/advertising budgets to promote responsible gambling. This is a move that White fully supports, but adds that more needs to be done.

“We truly believe that the requirements and measures introduced by iGO have made a huge difference,” said White. “But I would say there needs to be more investment in the Responsible Internet Gambling Fund.

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“We need a commitment from the government that it will be calculated annually because this is not a one-sided strategy. This should be a multi-year approach as the industry evolves and we learn. The fund needs to be larger due to the player base and complexity of player types, it is not a homogeneous group.”

Michael Moskowitz, chairman and CEO of NorthStar Gaming, said the operator was more than happy with the provincial market.

“NorthStar’s marketing approach has always been and continues to be content and insights driven,” he said. “We ensure our players have the information and insight they need so they can play and bet with confidence.

“NorthStar supports improvements to Ontario’s regulatory framework, including marketing policies that discourage the use of athletes, retired athletes and celebrities, and other individuals who appeal to young people.”

The RGC’s recommendation to the government was to continue to prioritize prevention education.

“We know that prevention education makes a difference,” he said. “It is also much cheaper and more successful than treatment programs.

“With a modest investment in preventative education, we can have a huge impact and Ontario will continue to be a leader in consumer protection.”

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