Ontario regulators have helped guide operators and suppliers through their transition from the grey to regulated online gaming market in the provinces, but are now expected to pressure newly registered suppliers that continue to service both the licensed and offshore segments.
Suppliers still working with grey-market operators can expect to be contacted by regulators, according to Raymond Kahnert, a spokesman with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
Since the market’s launch on April 4, a total of 24 websites associated with 17 registered operators have been launched through contractual partnerships with the AGCO’s subsidiary, iGO.
A further nine operators have been registered by the AGCO but have yet to launch, while an undisclosed number of other operators may have applied for a registration but have yet to receive one.
Kahnert said one of the key objectives behind Ontario’s new online gaming market is to bring sites Ontarians are already gambling on under regulation so that they can be held to high standards of responsible gambling, player protection and game integrity.
The AGCO’s unregulated market transition policy was set out in the Internet Gaming Suppliers Application Guide and the Internet Gaming Operator Application Guide, Kahnert said.
The guides say that any operators or gaming-related suppliers offering platforms, systems, casino games, e-wallets, trading and other services that have applied to enter the legal market must cease unregulated market operations within Ontario once they are issued an AGCO registration.
Kahnert said in instances where an affiliation is identified between either an operator or supplier in the regulated market with entities in the unregulated market, “the AGCO will contact the registered entities and reiterate the requirement to end that association.”
The AGCO declined to comment directly on whether regulators are preparing to crack down on suppliers continuing to do business with grey-market firms.
“The AGCO continuously undertakes compliance monitoring activities and has ongoing discussions with registered operators and suppliers to address any potential issues or concerns should they arise,” Kahnert said in an email to VIXIO GamblingCompliance.
Depending on the severity of an issue, Kahnert said the AGCO could employ a variety of escalating actions, as appropriate, with a view to moving entities back into compliance.
Possible actions include education, warnings, monetary penalties, suspensions, and revocations, he said.