New Online Gambling Laws in Ontario 2022: What Has Changed for Gamblers

Starting from Monday, April 4, 2022, all gamblers in Ontario who are 19 years old or older can start playing casino games and also make real money bets on sports on web platforms and mobile apps legally, and not only on platforms run by OLG (who’s been a monopolist for a very long time). 

New Online Gambling Laws in Ontario: What Has Changed for Gamblers

According to the new regulations that unlocked the new legal online gambling market in Ontario, the most populated province that also has the biggest number of casino houses, special authorized private online casinos, and sports betting operators can now offer their services legally to the residents of Ontario.

Ontario became the first jurisdiction in Canada that allowed gambling and betting online within the legal private market. Before, only OLG monopolists could offer online gambling services in Ontario legally. As for other casino sites, they operated in the grey zone, which was definitely a disadvantage for businesses and for players alike. The regulated market will protect both customers and businesses, will increase the tax revenue, and create jobs in the region. 

As of Friday, April 1, 25 operators have already registered to provide legal services, and more operators are yet to come. These are mostly sports betting platforms and applications, but casino games providers are also on the list. There are two important nuances that wannabe operators have to consider first. 

If they have been present in the grey zone in Ontario before, they will first have to first settle any bets they’ve taken from within Ontario before they can legally launch. 

Secondly, the companies will then need to get approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and sign an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario (iGO). 

You may read the review of the best regulated Ontario online casinos here.

There are some concerns in the industry as land-based casino houses operators are worried that the new regulations will make offline casinos less competitive and might impact the revenues, partially because land-based facilities are traditionally taxed at a higher rate. The authorities, however, suggest that the new regulation will allow the offline facility operators to diversify their offers and services, and increase their competitiveness, rather than the other way round. 

Another concern is the Responsible Gambling framework, the compliance with which again is only expected to improve as the market becomes regulated and closely watched by the relevant authorities. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has set harm-reduction standards for operators, including monitoring mechanisms and compulsive gambling behavior prevention. Misleading ads or ads targeting minors are also prohibited.

The Key Changes in Ontario Online Casinos Regulations

Now, Ontario can enjoy online gambling and betting legally, and within a short time, more operators will join the new market. In order to play legally, one does not have to be from Ontario, but they need to be in the province to actually play, make real money bets, and withdraw their winnings. On the other hand, one can open an account with the relevant operator, manage this account, and close it from anywhere. 

As of now when this news is written, the majority of operators that have already joined the market are sports betting platforms and apps. Sports betting has been huge in Ontario at all times, so this is not surprising, because most bookmakers have been operating in the offline market previously. So, they could meet the requirements faster. Online casinos, on the other hand, are free to join but they will have to pay taxes on bets they accepted all the time operating in the grey market. Those sites that have no such previous experience will join faster.

Mike Hunter, CasinosHunter
Mike Hunter
Founder of CasinosHunter
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“Regulated markets mean protection for the businesses but also protection for the players. Previously, local gamblers could make real money bets and withdraw real money winnings from any offshore casino site that accepted them as customers, and the local authorities did not persecute for that. But on the other hand, if a casino site violated customer rights, the local government could not punish the casino because they had no regulation over it. After the new laws in Ontario, this has changed, and players can be sure that their interests are protected if they gamble with the registered operator.”

Offline casino operators that are worried about losing their competitiveness compared to online casinos and betting sites, in turn, will have to either adapt, diversify their offers, and become more flexible, or stop being competitive. If the players prefer online casinos to offline ones, this is probably because the first offer more benefits than the last. 

It is still unclear whether offshore online casino operators that do not enter Ontario’s new regulated market will be blocked by the local authorities, persecuted for offering services to the local gamblers, or will be left in the grey zone.

List of Available Online Casinos in Ontario

The players can track the current online casinos and betting sites available for legal betting in Ontario on the legal site. CasinosHunter will also track the lists and add the relevant platforms and applications to the recommended section on our platform. If you would like to learn more about regulations in Ontario and look through the list of sites available under any circumstances, please check out our page. 

Below is the list of sites currently indicated as those that officially joined the newly regulated market in the province. 

Final Thoughts

Canada is one of the most online gambling-friendly countries in global terms, and Ontario has always been one of the most online gambling-friendly provinces, so the new regulations we see now are rather predictable. The question was rather when Ontario takes this step, not whether.

The current flexible and up-to-date regulations have been in work for years, but today, they will allow the market to boost its development, creating more jobs, more taxes and revenue for communities, more protection, and a successful case for other Canadian provinces to take as an example.