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Ontario Regulator Contacting International Counterparts About Unregistered Operators

June 15, 2023
Ontario’s gaming regulator has begun contacting counterparts from international jurisdictions to help stamp out remaining unregulated operators doing business in the province.


Ontario’s gaming regulator has begun contacting counterparts from international jurisdictions to help stamp out remaining unregulated operators doing business in the province.

A study commissioned by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and conducted by market research firm Ipsos earlier this year found that 85 percent of respondents who placed a real-money bet online did so on a regulated site, a channelization rate that top gaming officials said well outperformed expectations after only one year of regulated online gambling in the province.

However, AGCO CEO Tom Mungham said during an appearance at the Canadian Gaming Summit in Toronto on Wednesday (June 14) that one of the regulator’s primary goals for the upcoming year is to continue to improve that channelization rate.

Mungham said that a benefit of conducting that survey was gaining information on players who were still using unregulated sites.

“The question was, who are you gaming with?” Mungham said. “We got a tremendous amount of intelligence through that exercise because we heard about the sites that people are playing on and then of course, we can track those sites back to the jurisdictions and the regulator.”

Mungham said that he has written to the regulators hosting those unlicensed operators to ask them to step in and speak with their registered operators.

“The regulator community is strong on this,” he said. “I’m getting extremely positive responses to the letters that I’ve written to the major and significant regulators across Europe and in other places.”

“There are other regulators that perhaps may not have the same perspective,” he added. “I’ve written to Curacao, I have not heard back from Curacao yet, but we will continue to go down this path, the AGCO has levers we can pull and we’re going to work with those.”

In addition, Mungham said he has reached out to Canadian broadcasters regarding continued advertising for so-called “dot-net” free-to-play sites that are companion sites for an unregistered real-money gaming operator.

“I’m tired and frustrated with the argument that says it’s dot-net advertising and people trying to work that loophole,” Mungham said. “Those dot-net advertisements are designed to channel you into a play-for-money site.

“That doesn’t have a place in Ontario, in my view.”

Martha Otton, executive director of iGaming Ontario, which serves as the entity that conducts and manages online gaming in the province, said that one of her goals going forward is to get more feedback from players to accumulate more data on why they have yet to make the transition to legal operators.

“We couldn’t have done this without all the conversations that we have with the operators, which I hope continue in the meaningful way and useful way they’ve been for me personally and the organization and I'd say the system as a whole. But I’d like to start getting a little more input from the players, the voice of the player,” Otton said.

“I’d like to see some more conversations that we can hear from those who are the end users of the product and [ask] why is it that a number of them continue to play on unregulated sites and keep them engaged in what it is that we’re doing.”

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