New Gambling Regulations Announced in Ontario
Recently, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced the forming of iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary that will regulate online gambling in the province. The new body is tasked to “conduct and manage” online gambling in the new market that will launch by the end of this year.
Studies have found that the online gambling market in Ontario is worth around $833 million per year, which partly prompted the formation of the new regulator. It is thought that about 70% of that amount is currently being spent on unregulated sites, and iGaming Ontario will be aiming to significantly reduce that number.
The watchdog has already revealed some of its new rules governing online gambling. The rules relate to marketing, split-screen games, and the speed of play for online slots.
The rules state that marketing campaigns and gambling adverts may not appeal to minors, which is a law found in many regulated markets around the world. Furthermore, the gambling campaigns may not be run within school areas or include any characters that may be appealing to children.
However, the most striking new rule will set a limit for online slots. It says that there must be at least 2.5 seconds between each spin, while auto-play and turbo mode features must be disabled. The regulator has justified this by saying that players “should commit to each game individually, releasing and then depressing the ‘start button’ or taking equivalent action.”
Furthermore, losses disguised as wins (LDWs), which is when a game announces a win even if a player has won less than they bet, are also prohibited. In addition, split-screen or multi-screen play for slots is also not allowed. Games can also not suggest that speed or skill can influence the outcome. Furthermore, operators must ensure that players’ balances are displayed in CA$ and not credits while they play.
Finally, online gambling operators are required to carry out anti-money laundering (AML) checks and offer responsible gambling tools, such as the option to self-exclude. They are also not allowed to specifically target high-risk players in their adverts.