AGCO Honoured For Excellence In iGaming Policy, Combating Grey Market

Written By Jose Colorado on October 21, 2022
The International Association of Gaming Regulators has given its Regulatory Excellence Award to the AGCO for gaming policy.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has received an international award for excellence.

On Oct. 19, the province’s gaming regulator was awarded the International Association of Gaming Regulators’ (IAGR) Regulatory Excellence Award.  The honour – announced at the second annual International Regulatory Awards Gala Event in Melbourne, Australia – was presented for AGCO’s excellence in gaming policy.

One of the purposes of the IAGR awards is to recognize teams that have made outstanding contributions and achievements in international gaming regulation(s). To that end, the AGCO has been hard at work implementing its iGaming platform while also combating grey markets.

IAGR president and award judge Jason Lane said in a release that the AGCO’s work couldn’t go unnoticed.

“The scale and breadth of the regulatory reform coupled with the detailed evidence of enhanced delivery of the new licensing regime made AGCO’s nomination a standout.”

AGCO recognized for implementation of iGaming market, regulatory framework

According to its official website, IAGR nominees were evaluated on the following barometers:

  • Regulator must produce an outstanding contribution and achievement in advancing public policy or gambling regulations
  • Jurisdiction must produce a visible enforcement and compliance outcome
  • Difficulty or scope of implementation

To that end, North America – and the world – watched as Ontario became the first Canadian province to launch an open iGaming market to third-party vendors on April 4, 2022.

Today, Canada’s most-populated province has 30 gaming operators – the second-highest in North American. Only New Jersey (33) has more. But Ontario will surpass that number in coming months.

AGCO CEO Tom Mungham

AGCO registrar and CEO Tom Mungham (above) said the feat is award-worthy.

“This award recognizes the exceptional skill, commitment and energy that was required from the AGCO team to launch a new regulated iGaming market in Ontario, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Award is a team effort

While AGCO may have its name on the IAGR award, many moving parts acted behind the scenes.

Consider in July 2021, AGCO started up iGaming Ontario (iGo) – a subsidiary responsible for the conduct and management of private operators in the province. Ontario’s gaming market requires operators to register with AGCO before signing an operating agreement with iGo.

AGCO then reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG). It is also a corporation under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Act, 2019.

Attorney General Doug Downey said it is a complete team effort.

“My team was honoured to work with AGCO in developing a strong, responsible, competitive Internet gaming model that effectively combats the illegal market, attracts investment and creates good jobs,” Downey said.

Mungham echoed those sentiments. He said:

“This achievement would not have been possible without out partners at the Ministry of the Attorney General.”

AGCO to ban illegal Ontario casinos, sportsbooks by Oct.31

Of course, no regulatory body is perfect. Despite all of its efforts, Ontario’s market has also had its fair share of hiccups.

From regulatory confusions to a prevailing grey market, there has been a learning curve for the award-winning government agency.

Expectations need to be realistic, however. After all, consider the scope and speed at which the province’s iGaming market has expanded.

Regardless, Ontario is already trying to rectify it.

In fact, recently AGCO announced all illegal Ontario casinos and sports had to leave the market by Oct.31. If not, operators in Canada’s grey market risk losing their registration eligibility in the future. AGCO also announced it will be tweaking standards around “live dealer” games as the regulatory body noticed an uptick in its popularity since launching. The move aims to mitigate consumer risks.

AGCO CEO: Marketplace much-improved

It’s not perfect. But the province continues to adapt and learn said Mungham.

“Before the launch of the new competitive iGaming market last April, residents of Ontario wagered significant amounts each year on iGaming websites with limited consumer protection and responsible gambling measures. Many players who accessed these sites were not aware they were in fact unregulated.

“We are honoured to be recognized on the international stage for out efforts to serve the people of Ontario.”

Two other award-winners alongside AGCO

The International Regulatory Awards are in their second year of existence.

In addition to recognizing outstanding regulatory bodies, the awards aim to act as a global networking conference for industry leaders.

Alongside AGCO, there were two other award-winners on the night. They were: The National Indian Gaming Commission (United States of America) and the Office of Responsible Gambling (New South Wales, Australia).

The Regulatory Innovation Award went to the former; the Best Regulatory Campaign to the latter.

IAGR trustees and independent stakeholders were the judges.

Some names included:

  • Marc Ellinger (President, International Masters of Gaming Law, IMGL)
  • Ben Haden (Director, UK Gambling Commission)
  • Jason Lane (President, IAGR)
  • Catherine Myers (Honorary Member, IAGR)
  • Luke Orchard (Senior VP, IGT)
  • Trudy Smit Quosai (Chief Executive, Greo)
Photo by Shutterstock
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Jose Colorado

Jose Colorado is a British Columbia-based writer. He lives in Burnaby and loves sports, anime, writing, business and the occasional walk on the beach.

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