Push for Privatized iGaming in Ontario Praised by CGA12th November 2020 |
The iGaming sector keeps growing more and more as time passes, and Canada’s biggest province is looking to privatize the online gaming sector and expand it even more. The local government of Ontario has tabled new legislation for privatizing iGaming, as well as put back on the table legislation for the legalization of single-event sports betting. The former has been highly praised by the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), stating that the local government is essential in regulating the online gaming industry at the provincial level.
More benefits highlighted by the CGA include the establishment of an industry-standard, as well as a secure environment for online players. In the words of President and CEO of CGA Paul Burns,
“We have seen significant growth in the amount of wagering with offshore websites and we welcome the move to create a regulatory system for offshore sites to better protect consumers.”
The privatization of iGaming will also help boost the province’s economy. Unfortunately, the picture which emerged during last Thursday’s reading of the 2020/21 budget was quite alarming. The global pandemic has impacted provincial finances negatively, with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation projecting that it will only be able to give some CA$200 million to the province’s coffers this budget year, as opposed to the CA$2.3 billion contributed last year. The OLG has been put in a dire situation with the national closure of all land-based casinos and gaming venues and has even had to apply for a CA$500 million loan to be able to keep going.
Read more news about the industry’s rocky future.
With this legislation, Ontario’s coffers are expected to become fuller as the OLG will no longer have a monopoly on online casinos. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) too will be able to manage online casinos in the province. In practical terms, this would mean that more operators will be able to apply for gaming licences, in turn creating more taxable income.
The boost to the local economy would also come through the need for a bigger workforce, and through investments in technology. These coupled with a bigger and brighter online gaming community could also draw in international service providers and operators, encouraging them to invest locally. iGaming has been garnering acceptance and support in general, making this legislation timely.
Mr. Burns said,
“As we grapple with the economic recovery from COVID-19, it will be helpful for Ontario to generate revenue from the licensing and taxation of offshore online operators who qualify to operate in Ontario. It will also allow land-based casino operators to access online gaming, enabling them to diversify their entertainment options and interact with customers outside of property walls.”
The taxable income this would generate could be the lifeline Ontario is looking for as the province needs all the help it can get financially.
Ontario is not the only province in need of a break. Read about Niagara Falls’ Covid woes.
The legislation right now is in front of the government as part of Ontario’s 2020 budget – Protect, Support, Recover, and first has to be read before Canada’s Justice committee for the vote before it can be passed on to the Senate. Only if approved by the Senate will the AGCO be given the authority to manage negotiations and interactions between the provincial government and private online gaming operators.
If passed, the legislation could pave the way for other provinces to follow suit. The ultimate goal for iGaming in Canada is to have a regulated and privatized national online gaming industry to benefit provincial governments, the private sector, and online players alike.
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