AGCO Opens Registration For Ontario’s Competitive Gambling Market

Written By Robyn McNeil on September 14, 2021 - Last Updated on October 26, 2021
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Applications are now open for companies aiming for a foothold in Ontario’s soon-to-be-open and competitive online gambling market.  

Yesterday, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) began accepting applications for registration from interested operators and suppliers. The first step for companies hoping to participate in the new market: register with AGCO.

According to the AGCO, applying for registration is one of the “key steps to participation” in the new market. 

For those applying, applications must be made through the iAGCO web portal. But now that registration is open, companies can sign-up for an account and begin preparing to submit. 

“It will take time for applicants to prepare, collect and submit all required information and supporting documentation,” said AGCO in a release. For that reason, the crown agency opened applications early to allow applicants time to collect, prepare, and submit the required documents.

It seems the completeness, not the first submission date, will determine how fast an application moves through the system. So, AGCO is encouraging applicants to, “provide as complete an application as possible to ensure timely processing.”

Guiding Lights

In August, the AGCO released an igaming operator application guide to help prospective applicants register. 

Earlier this month, the regulator followed up with a guide for suppliers. Each guide contains a detailed list of the information and documentation required for the AGCO to process applications.

However, it’s important to note that operators must enter a commercial agreement with iGaming Ontario (iGO) separate from AGCO registration. iGaming Ontario is a subsidiary of AGCO established to oversee the new market’s private operators. Details of the commercial agreements live on iGO’s engagement portal.

Interested companies can expect a glimpse of the finalized commercial contract soon. However, operators will need to sign a non-disclosure agreement first.

Setting the standards

Just last week, AGCO also released their finalized standards for sports and event betting. Those standards, as settled upon, have been embedded in the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming initially published back in July.

When the market launches, the standards will apply to all sports, esports, novelty, betting exchange, and fantasy sports. According to current timelines, the big day is expected in late 2021.

Spot the differences  

The Registrar’s Standards, including those relating to sport and event betting, are fundamental to AGCO’s igaming regulatory framework. But, there have been some subtle shifts to the standards since the release of the first draft in July.

Changes include strengthening the rules around acceptable bets, most notably around the age of an event’s participants. AGCO tightened the rules around advertising of inducements, too. All advertising must be truthful and avoid deeming things “free” or “risk-free.” Unless, of course, they truly are no-cost and free of risk. 

The revisions, say AGCO, allow the regulator to continue offering a balanced approach to regulation. Operators can advertise their brand in a way that upholds extensive responsible gambling safeguards.

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Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax in an empty nest with a mischievous cat and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, and hoppy beer.

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