Gambling laws and iGaming regulation Ontario Canada 2024

New Westminster Record
Gambling laws and iGaming regulation Ontario Canada 2024
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Sponsored: This article details Ontario's 2022 regulatory overhaul of online gambling, which established a competitive and responsible market for licensed operators and outlines the benefits, rules and legal requirements for players as of 2024

In 2022, the most populous province in Canada, Ontario, established a new regulatory landscape that ensures all online gambling activities are conducted responsibly and legally. This resulted in significant operators worldwide launching fully licensed online casinos in Ontario. 

In 2024, people can legally enjoy online gaming at a licensed Ontario online casino in the province. Many of these operators have the best online casino offers available in the market. However, what does the Ontario iGaming regulation entail, and what does it mean for the player? 

Read on for the complete picture of gambling laws and iGaming regulations in Ontario as of 2024.

How is online gambling regulated in Ontario?

Ontario's online gaming initiative is Canada's most significant move to regulate iGaming. After the legalization of online gambling providers in April 2022, Ontario’s gaming sector has become one of the most competitive markets in North America, with competition between more than 50 licensed online gaming operators. Here, two leading organizations regulate the gambling market:

Other Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, offer online gaming platforms exclusively through government lottery companies, and private operators are not allowed to participate. 

In contrast, the Ontario online gaming model is based on the delivery of online games by private operators on behalf of the government through commercial relationships with iGaming Ontario. Premier Doug Ford initiated this model to regulate the rapidly growing online gambling market.

Operators must be registered with AGCO and iGO to operate in Ontario legally. Ontario has issued numerous practice permits to private operators of online gambling sites and continues to expand this initiative.

What are the rules licensed operators must comply with in Ontario, Canada?

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) was established in Feb. 1998, and since then, it has overseen gambling activities in Ontario. In 2022, when the provincial government decided to introduce competition to the online market, AGCO was responsible for assessing each license applicant's suitability and issuing the necessary licenses. Here are the stringent regulations that every online casino available in Ontario must adhere to:

Marketing rules

According to the current legislation of the online gambling market in Ontario, advertising elements and marketing materials conveying promotions, bonuses, and credits are only permitted on the internet platforms of online casino operators in Ontario through direct marketing. Such communication is conditional on obtaining the active consent of players, thus guaranteeing a compliant and secure online gaming experience.

Free means free

Promotional offers, often a significant draw in the game selection offered by online casinos, should not be defined as "free" unless the incentive, bonus, or credit truly is. Clear terms and conditions must accompany promotions related to online gaming in Ontario so that players can understand the potential financial commitments before making a commitment.

Operators are penalized if their business partners make mistakes

Casino operators in Ontario, constituting a prestigious list, take full responsibility for the actions of the third parties with whom they collaborate. This includes all aspects of online gambling operations, from slots to tables and live casino games. They ensure the adoption of practices consistent with provincial directives.

Responsible gaming matters

Online casinos in Ontario must also ensure adequate measures to combat gambling addiction, such as offering self-exclusion and having an addiction prevention policy. These policies help detect, prevent and limit the risk of harm linked to online gambling. They must be constantly updated and evaluated for their effectiveness, following guidelines from iGaming Ontario to promote responsible gaming conduct across the province.

What are the legal requirements for players in Ontario?

If you’re an Ontario resident and of the legal age to participate in gambling activities, you can safely play at Ontario's best legal online casinos and sports betting sites. However, the legal age limit for betting on sports and playing casino games is different than for the one to participate in lottery and bingo games. Here are the main rules you should follow if you want to play at an online casino available in Ontario legally:

  • You must be at least 19 years old to bet on sports and play online casino games for real money.
  • If you want to participate in lottery and bingo games, you must be at least 18 years old.
  • AGCO only allows players who are physically within Ontario's borders to play on regulated sites​​. Online casino sites are required to access players' geolocation to verify their location.

Do I need to pay tax on winnings at Ontario online casinos?

In Ontario, casino winnings are generally only subject to taxation if you are classified as a professional gambler. Professional gamblers must report their winnings as income and are required to pay federal and provincial taxes, except for those winnings derived from lottery tickets and scratch cards.

The benefits of iGaming regulation in Ontario

The legalization of online casino and sports betting activities in Ontario reflects Canada's more modern approach to gambling. This approach involves recognizing the types of activities Canadians engage in and opting to regulate rather than prohibit those activities. 

The easing of previous bans aims to legalize the existing "gray" market for the benefit of Ontario residents. This is a welcome step in recognizing the evolution of technology and its influence on gaming. A regulated market better serves the interests of all participants in this sector and protects players against gambling addiction, fraud and other problems.

DISCLAIMER: The information presented on this page/site is intended for entertainment purposes only. Please be aware that gambling entails inherent risks, and it's crucial to acknowledge this when utilizing online gambling platforms.

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