Both the online casino gaming and sports betting industries in Ontario have been set out strict regulations by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission, since its launch in early April this year. The rules have left many operators stuck with subpar marketing and others taking monetary fines for infringements.
When posed with the question of whether there would be any rollbacks to gambling rules in Ontario, Canadian Gaming Association President Paul Burns stated that they would first need to gauge the initial progress of the Ontario market. Only then will they be able to make the right decisions regarding any changes to regulations.
Based on the statement, it can be inferred that there won’t be any big changes to the Ontario gambling rules in the near future. This however, does not rule out any room for changes as the industry begins to find its feet.
Enforced Rules So Far in Ontario
Some major online casinos and sportsbooks have come under fire from the AGCO for violating advertising rules in Ontario. DrafttKings was one of the most recent, fined C$100,000 after breaching the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming.
The penalty was in specific regard to the fact that gambling inducements, such as bonuses, and other promotional materials were used in the form of boosters during the NHL playoffs.
According to the gaming standards, operators cannot target marketing content with promotions to customers who have not given their explicit consent to receive such promotions once they have been onboarded on the operator’s website.
PointsBet Canada and BetMGM both also had to pay C$30,000 and C$48,000 fines respectively for breaking Standards 2.05 of the gambling framework. Both had to do with the offering of free bets and casino bonuses to bettors.
Going forward most operators are looking for more clarity when it comes to the exact way rules will be implemented. It seems that only time will tell if clarity will come with more fines or if the AGCO will provide a set of guidelines which can be used by online casinos and sportsbooks to fine tune their marketing.
Eventually, it is expected that the Ontario online gambling market will relax its advertising rules. The AGCO is looking to have a stern initial position on promotional marketing to dissuade operators from using overly incentivising material when advertising. It seems unlikely however that the rules will be enforced as heavily as the industry begins to expand and enforcement of the rules becomes more and more difficult.