Seventeen Operators Exit Ontario After iGaming Licensing Deadline

November 3, 2022
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With a licensing deadline expiring two days ago, 17 operators that remain unlicensed to do business within Ontario's regulated iGaming market have ceased operations until their applications are completed, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario confirmed on Wednesday.

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With a licensing deadline expiring two days ago, 17 operators that remain unlicensed to do business within Ontario's regulated iGaming market have ceased operations until their applications are completed, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) confirmed on Wednesday (November 2).

The AGCO did not identify those operators that have been forced to withdraw from the province as they await approval of their registrations to join a regulated market which first launched in April.

However, regulators confirmed Wednesday that Mansion Ontario Holdings Limited, Bet99, L7 Entertainment Limited and Ngame N.V. have all joined the Ontario market as legal and regulated operators. Those companies join a series of recent new entrants that include Pinnacle, Betano and BetVictor.

Regulators last month established an October 31 deadline to allow operators to apply for and receive approvals from the AGCO and its iGaming Ontario subsidiary, which would allow them to transition into the regulated market without having to cease operating on an unregulated basis.

“These operators are comprised of iGaming companies that are still working through AGCO and iGaming Ontario requirements to enter Ontario’s regulated market,” AGCO spokesman Raymond Kahnert told VIXIO GamblingCompliance of the 17 companies that have ended Ontario operations this week.

Kahnert also confirmed that a total of 28 of the 36 operators currently live in Ontario’s regulated online gambling market “were previously active in the province’s unregulated market.”

“Each of these operators have fully exited the unregulated market as a condition of entry.”

In addition to operators, Kahnert said, the AGCO continues to engage registered suppliers to ensure they are meeting their obligations to end all commercial relationships with respect to residual unregulated sites in Ontario.

“We note that significant progress has been achieved by registered suppliers in removing their games and other technology from unregulated sites to date,” Kahnert said.

Ontario has a long history of allowing an online gaming grey market to flourish, where operators were licensed and regulated in other countries but offered their games and accepted wagers from gamblers within the province.

The licensure deadline was put in place last month when the AGCO updated its Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming. The updates to Standard 1.22 put in place the transition deadline of October 31.

Since the standard was announced on October 3, Kahnert said, teams across the AGCO have worked together with registrants and applicants who have remained in the unregulated market to ensure they understand their regulatory obligations.

“With the application process for registration opening in September 2021 and the market going live in April 2022, operators and gaming-related suppliers have had a reasonable amount of time to join Ontario’s regulated market in a seamless fashion,” he said.

He noted that a key objective of the AGCO was to move operators and suppliers into Ontario’s regulated market as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.

Kahnert said the agency will continue to carefully monitor for “compliance with this new standard.”

“As always, the AGCO will take appropriate regulatory action when dealing with non-compliance, including enforcement measures where appropriate,” he said. “The AGCO will also continue working with government, law enforcement, and international regulators to address residual unregulated market activity in Ontario.”

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